RED BANK: SEX SHOP LAW TO TWEAK TERMS

By: REBECCA DESFOSSE

Red Bank’s governing body put the brakes on pending changes to an ordinance limiting the locations in which porn shops and nude dancing clubs can operate Wednesday.

But the tabling of the changes, until the borough council’s next meeting on December 19, was over technical notification issues, and not in response to concerns raised by officials in Shrewsbury.

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RED BANK: CANDIDATES DIFFER ON FINANCES

GOP challenger Suzanne Viscomi speaks at Wednesday night’s candidates’ forum as incumbents Mike DuPont, left, and Art Murphy listen. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

The lone GOP challenger for one of two Red Bank council seats open in the November 6 election squared off against two incumbents in a lively forum at the River Street Commons Wednesday night.

Newcomer Suzanne Viscomi, of Allen Place, is taking on Democrats Mike DuPont of South Street and Art Murphy of Prospect Avenue, hoping to end their party’s five-year monopoly on the governing body.

“Let your vote allow me to be your voice,” Viscomi asked the audience of about 75.

Murphy, though, disputed the notion of groupthink on the governing body.

“I don’t agree with Ms. Viscomi as far as when she says we are all one-sided up on the council,” he said in his closing statement. “We have our differences.”

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RIVERCENTER PLANS DOWNTOWN KIOSKS

rivercenter-sandwichRiverCenter’s first kiosk is slated for installation in English Plaza to let visitors know its new location. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Not that it was so easy to find when it was sequestered in a second-story space above Broad Street, but with Red Bank RiverCenter‘s move three months ago, the agency compromised what little visibility it had, taking up residence in an all-but-hidden office in English Plaza.

And if you’re a tourist looking for the Red Bank Visitors Center, which shares space with RiverCenter, well, good luck trying to find it.

But the move presented a fresh reason for RiverCenter, which promotes the downtown and portions of the West Side businesses, to put into action an idea executive director Nancy Adams has harbored since she stepped into her role more than three years ago, she said.

On Wednesday night, Adams presented the borough council with a plan to install information kiosks in English Plaza to alert visitors to the new RiverCenter and the Visitors Center digs.

It would be the first of a handful of kiosks downtown to offer maps and pertinent borough info to people coming into town, Adams said.

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FIREWORKS FEE AMENDED FOR KIDS

kaboom-muralThe Red Bank council amended the entry fee for the Kaboom fireworks Wednesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s council had a collective palm-to-forehead moment Wednesday night.

Apparently caught up earlier this month in the haste of getting the entry charge for the KaBoom fireworks show formally passed so the organizers could go to print on advertising material, the council flubbed the fee structure for the show at its last meeting.

This, even after a pretty lengthy discourse on what qualifies as a child – and a mid-meeting text exchange with KaBoom committee Chairman Charles Moran.

“In confirming and calls and text, we probably missed something,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

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COUNCIL DIGS IN AGAINST PROPOSED GARDEN

rbpl-garden-siteAdvocates are pushing the council to allow a community garden on borough-owned property to the right of the library, above. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The green thumbs had their rakes and hoes out in force Wednesday night.

An already lengthy Red Bank council meeting carried on about 45 minutes more as elected officials and proponents of a community garden clashed on the proposed location for the first of what the group hopes will to be up to four community-tended gardens throughout town.

Advocates want the start-up site at borough-owned property adjoining the public library site. But officials say it’s the last available piece of public land on the Navesink River, and don’t want to exclude people by turning it into an area of specific interest.

And so a back-and-forth that started in March continued Wednesday, with still no place to plant a seed decided upon.

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KABOOM: TEN BUCKS AT RIVERSIDE GARDENS

riverside-gardens-crowd1Fireworks watchers at Riverside Gardens Park will have to pay; viewing from other public properties will remain free. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Primo pyrotechnics views will cost you at one public location in Red Bank this July 3.

The Kaboom Fireworks Committee, apparently back on its feet through a revamped fundraising model, is backing off a previous plan to charge for views of the annual Independence Day fireworks show at three waterfront properties, and has decided on just one: Riverside Gardens Park.

The other two riverside locations, at the borough library and Marine Park, will remain free.

“They are on very, very sound financial footing,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said of the fireworks.

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COUNCIL WANTS ITS FAIR SHARE OF AID

mennaMayor Pasquale Menna ponders the borough’s future on Monday night as he discussed possible cuts in state aid. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Pairing the word ‘doomsday’ with ‘budget’ doesn’t exactly evoke a warm fuzzy feeling, but Red Bank officials are prepared to put them together if the state’s new governor, Chris Christie, runs a scythe through state aid this budget season, as he’s all but promised.

Because about 16 percent, or roughly $320 million, of Red Bank’s assessed value consists of non-profits — meaning the borough doesn’t collect taxes from those groups but still has to provide necessary services to them — a major loss, like 25 percent as Christie has proposed, would be crippling, said councilman Michael DuPont.

That’s why he asked the council to get on board with a message to Trenton urging state officials to recognize Red Bank’s unique situation and be kind with its cuts.

“I think the state needs to understand this is a hardship,” DuPont said.

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