LITTLE SILVER PIVOTS ON $1.5M TURF PLAN

ls sickles park 080414 4The ballfields at Sickles Farm Park will remain grass for now. Below, audience members passed around a turf sample.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ls turf 080414Little Silver isn’t ready for artificial turf at Sickles Farm Park, the borough council informally agreed Monday night.

After hearing comments from residents divided over the initiative, the council decided not to pursue a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant toward an estimated $1.5 million project cost. Not this year, at least.

“I don’t see the benefit of going to the county with half the community opposed,” said Councilman Donald Galante.

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LITTLE SILVER MULLS ARTIFICIAL TURF

HOT-TOPIC_03Coming up at Monday night’s meeting of the Little Silver borough council: a presentation on the possibility of installing artificial turf at Sickles Field.

The recreation committee is slated to outline the pros and cons of pursing an Open Spaces grant from Monmouth County to cover some of the costs of a such a project, recreation Director Doug Glassmacher tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: BULKHEAD, BELLHAVEN DEBATED

rb bulkhead 041314The council approved a bond to pay for a bulkhead to halt erosion at North Prospect Avenue, above. A change to another bond, for a possible spray park at Bellhaven Natural Area, below, drew criticism. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bellhaven-parkNot for the first time and almost certainly not for the last, Red Bankers picked over a pair of big-ticket projects at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

One was a bond ordinance council members were in a hurry to approve in order to save two Navesink River yards from severe erosion.

The other: A possible spray park at Bellhaven Natural Area that has pitted environmental activists against West Siders desperate for a playground.

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RED BANK: MAPLE COVE SAVED… FOR NOW?

rb rosi cove library 021214The placement of the proposed border between the library parking lot and adjoining riverfront property was a subject of debate, but all of Maple Cove will remain on the open space inventory. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The battle to save the cove is over, apparently.

The Red Bank borough council officially abandoned a plan to remove Maple Cove and a nearby riverfront property from the town’s roster of open spaces Wednesday night.

The unanimous move appears to close the book on a controversial issue that helped vault activist Cindy Burnham onto the governing body in the last election.

Not that it can’t be undone, says Burnham, the lone Republican on the six-member council.

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RED BANK: VOTE DELAYED ON RIVER SITES

maple-cove-lot1The Maple Cove parking lot during reconstruction in 2011. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Debate over how to classify parking lots at Red Bank’s Maple Cove and the nearby public library was put off for three weeks at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting.

Though the issue appeared on a draft of the meeting’s agenda, the possible delisting of the the two sites from the borough’s Recreation and Open Space Inventory, or ROSI, was removed early in the day.

The controversial issue was tabled until February 12 at the earliest, over the objections of newly installed Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, because a transcript of a three-hour public comment session held last month was not yet ready for review by the governing body, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK REC GEARS UP FOR SPRING

Installers laid down rubber pellets as the base for the new artificial turf at Count Basie Fields in January. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

With the first day of spring less than a month away, Memone Crystian, director of Red Bank’s Parks and Recreation department, knows the throes of winter will soon be replaced by… other types of throws.

Her department has crafted a packed schedule of recreational sports for kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade to enjoy on brand new turf in coming months at Count Basie Fields. And in addition to the traditional baseball, softball and soccer offerings, lacrosse will be on the agenda.

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FORMER REC HEAD EVANS DEAD AT AGE 50

evans-bobBob Evans at the Red Bank Centennial picnic in 2008.

Former Red Bank Parks & Rec director Bob Evans has died at age 50.

Evans was found dead of an apparent heart attack in a locker room Monday, days after having pitched in a over-40 baseball game on Cape Cod, according to a blog post by borough resident David Prown.

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RUMSON CUTS FAIR HAVEN FROM REC SPORTS

img_5139111409The change affects kids in the rowing program at Victory Park, above, and a lacrosse program. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Citing capacity issues, Rumson has dropped Fair Haven from its recreation sports partnership, a move that isn’t sitting well with coaches and parents from both riverside towns.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Rumson’s governing body caught an earful from miffed residents who accused the borough of making a hasty decision and pleaded for officials to work harder to continue what some called the most successful recreation partnership in the area.

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SKATING, PUTT-PUTT OUT IN MIDDLETOWN

skate-park1A skateboarder uses the township’s closed skate park despite the padlocks on the gates. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Shawn Sharkey is trying to balance his dejection and confusion these days.

Last summer, he and his friends would head to Middletown’s municipal skate park, in the Port Monmouth section of town, and skateboard all day, almost every day, he said. It was their place, where they’d be free of hassle from the police that they’d normally face skateboarding through town.

This summer, though, their safe haven is beyond at risk of becoming a vacant, useless patch of asphalt decorated with ramps and rails. The padlocks on the park’s gates haven’t even come off since they were strapped on last winter, Sharkey says.

“I think it’s stupid. Public places, we can’t go,” says Sharkey, 16. “Cops say this what skate parks are for, but when the skate park is closed, that leaves us with nothing.”

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INSIDE DIRT: BASIE FIELD GETTING MAKEOVER

basie-field1-051110Heavy equipment regraded the soil inside the running track recently in preparation for artificial turf. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If you haven’t noticed, Count Basie Field is looking a lot more like the old Yankee Stadium and a lot less like the friendly home of Red Bank’s slew of sports teams.

“It’s a big dirt pile,” said Christine Ballard, borough engineer.

The good news is that it won’t be that way for too long, Ballard tells redbankgreen. And, unlike the Yankees’ replacement ballpark, Red Bank’s upgrade isn’t going to cost upwards of $1 billion.

Getting the artificial turf laid down at the borough’s biggest park is costing a pretty penny, though.

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BURNHAM: MAPLE COVE MAKEOVER COMING

burnham-maple-coveCindy Burnham at Maple Cove in April, 2008.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Is the wrangling over borough-owned land at the river end of Maple Avenue in Red Bank finally over?

Cindy Burnham, who’s been a thorn in the side of local officials with her campaign to spruce up popular gateway to the Navesink River, says so.

She tells redbankgreen that after months of wrangling with local officials, a deal is in place to get what she and other nature enthusiasts have been working for: two benches and a sign at Maple Cove, the unofficial name of the half-acre parcel.

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EVANS OUT AS PARKS & REC HEAD

evans-bobBob Evans at the Red Bank Centennial picnic in 2008.

Red Bank Parks & Rec director Bob Evans appears to be out of a job come January 1.

“It doesn’t look like the reappointment will be made,” Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen late yesterday, in response to questions over whether Evans had been fired earlier this week.

Menna, citing state regulations regarding government personnel matters, said he could not discuss Evans’ status, except to say that “he’s taking some personal time at this point.”

Evans could not be reached for comment. Two sources say that Evans was “shocked” to be told by borough Administrator Stanley Sickels on Wednesday that he was being terminated for mismanagement of the department.

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LITLLE SILVER PARK OK’D FOR FACELIFT

santelle-park1The Dominick F. Santelle Park and Boat Ramp is slated for what Borough Council members say are much-needed renovations. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

There’ll be reason to visit Santelle Park again come spring time, if not just to use it, but to soak in its new look.

Now a forlorn place of cracked asphalt basketball courts, sagging tennis nets and rickety swing sets, the facility will be getting a $298,000 upgrade. The Borough Council gave the approval at its meeting Monday night, and the work will be done by Precise Construction, of Freehold.

“That’s good. It’s a long time coming,” Councilman Jonathan Bittman said, after the council unanimously approved the expenditure, which was allotted in last year’s budget.

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FAIR HAVEN REC HEAD THRIVES, FULL-TIME

fh-hoffman

Charlie Hoffman just finished his first year as Fair Haven’s first full-time recreation director. Borough officials think the investment has paid off in spades. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As mayor of Fair Haven, Michael Halfacre catches a lot of flak for decisions he and the Borough Council make. That was no different last year when the council decided to hire a full-time recreation director; Halfacre says there was a lot of collective grumbling going on.

But once Charlie Hoffman, a fresh-faced 29-year-old, stepped into that full-time role and got to work, the naysayers suddenly got quiet, Halfacre said.

“I’ve not heard a single complaint from anybody,” he said. “His on the job performance has been tremendous.”

Hoffman has been on the job for a little more than a year now, and all one needs to do is take a look at the borough’s existing and new recreation programs to see the impact Hoffman’s had in his inaugural year, his backers say.

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LOVE, PEACE & TIE DYE AT LITTLE SILVER REC

Little Silver’s summer recreation program closed out today with a celebration of love and peace in recognition of the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock.

The event concluded with a ‘tug of peace’ in which, like, a million kids took on a vastly outnumbered crew of adults and counselors. The kids won, winding up in a heap on the lawn behind the Markham Place School.

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