RED BANK: A 24TH NIGHT OF HOLIDAY DAZZLE

rb-town-lighting-112516-4rb-town-lighting-112516-7For the 24th straight year, the feel-jolly sounds of Holiday Express served as the soundtrack to a Town Lighting ceremony that drew thousands of visitors to downtown Red Bank Friday night. Were you among those who braved the drizzle for the dazzle? Check out our photos to see who you might recognize. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: LIGHTS UP ON HOLIDAY SEASON

holiday-express-2010-2Tim McLoone (below) and Holiday Express sound the keynote for another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank with a free concert and Town Lighting ceremony Friday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge) 

timmclooneHe’s the leader of the band and founder of the winter-wonderland wall of sound known as Holiday Express. As such, Tim McLoone is also the conductor of a festive freight-train that each year carries its message of community and caring to the places that almost no one wants to think about — not even during the holidays.

And every Black Friday evening, McLoone is a conductor of electricity — when he and the big band sound the keynote and flip the switch on a season of sights and Santa-fied activities that make Red Bank the area’s undisputed Capital of Christmastime.

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THE COUNT NEEDS A CUT

basie-bust21Attention jazz and history lovers who hate weeds: volunteers are wanted to help clean up the area of the Red Bank train station that’s home to a bust of borough native William ‘Count’ Basie. Councilman Ed Zipprich said the bust, dedicated less than two years ago, has become overgrown with weeds and brush, and plans a cleanup of the area in the near future. For info, call borough hall at 732.530.2740. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

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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SNOW ADDED TO TOP PED SAFETY CONCERNS

snow-sidewalkIt doesn’t do much good if snow blocks access to a shoveled sidewalk, residents say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The list of concerns related to pedestrian safety are well-documented. Red Bank needs more traffic lights, better signage, sidewalk improves and more, residents say.

But now, with snow packed into blocks of ice at the end of sidewalks throughout town, fears are heightened that something bad is going to happen.

That concern, along with the usual gripes, were aired at Wednesday night’s monthly West Side Community Group meeting with police and Mayor Pasquale Menna.

“It’s not that the sidewalks are not shoveled. It’s just that the curbing is blocked with snow,” said Carl Colmorgen, a school crossing guard. “The crosswalks are there, but you can’t get to them because of the snow.”

But the problem is going to take time to resolve, officials said.

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UNVEILING OF TRAIN STATION FIXES SLATED

train-stationNew Jersey Transit will make a presentation tonight on planned renovations to Red Bank’s train station. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s been six months since New Jersey Transit pledged to overhaul Red Bank’s creaking and crumbling train station, and now the agency is ready to fill the public in on its plans.

Gearing up for a complete makeover of the salmon-colored Victorian two-story, NJT officials will give a presentation Friday evening at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank to anyone interested in getting an idea of what lies ahead.

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NJT PLANS REPAIRS, NEW LOOK FOR STATION

trainstation_09

NJTransit’s plan includes removal of gingerbread trimming, which historians say is inauthentic. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It looks as though the Red Bank train station will finally get those long-awaited repairs Historic Preservation Commission members have been clamoring for, and then some.

Commission members, along with Mayor Pasquale Menna, met with New Jersey Transit officials Thursday to go over a multiphased plan that will overhaul the deteriorating Victorian-style station and restore it to its former glory.

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