RED BANK: BELLHAVEN MAKEOVER IN SIGHT

christine ballard red bank nj bellhavenConsulting engineer Christine Ballard details the Bellhaven plan for the council last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After years of revisions, and no small amount of controversy, changes to the Bellhaven Natural Area in Red Bank could be completed by this summer, officials said last week.

Once again, the project has been scaled-back from a version of a plan that called for a spray park and triggered loud protests four years ago, they said.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN PLAN SCALED BACK

Trees were taken down recently at Bellhaven Natural Area in preparation for an observation deck being built there, according to Business Administrator Ziad Shehady. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials have quietly started prep work for a project at a site once mired in controversy: the Bellhaven Natural Area overlooking the Swimming River.

The end result, however will be a “scaled-back” version of a plan that once called for a spray park and triggered loud protests three years ago.

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RED BANK: NEW BELLHAVEN PLAN WINS PRAISE

The new concept plan for Bellhaven Natural Area includes an observation deck, similar to the one shown for illustration purposes above left; playground equipment; and a play area covered with a rubberized safety surface, shown in light green. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after residents gave a thorough hosing to a plan for a spray park in a West Side wetlands, Red Bank officials unveiled a new plan for the Bellhaven Natural Area Wednesday night.

This one got a warmer reception.

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RED BANK: NEW STINK OVER BELLHAVEN COSTS

A 2012 image outlines the extent of wetlands at Bellhaven Natural Area at the western terminus of Locust Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after abandoning a controversial “sprayground” proposed for the Bellhaven Natural Area, the Red Bank borough council is moving ahead with plans for a playground at the site.

At its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the council approved nearly $20,000 in additional engineering costs for the site, a move that prompted fresh objections.

“This is deja vu all over again,” said Bill Meyer, owner of a downtown commercial building. The borough has already spent $73,000  engineering fees on the site, and “that money was burned and wasted,” he said. Read More »

RUMSON: OCEANIC MAKEOVER BEGINS ANEW

Todd Thompson, seated at center, discussing bridge options with other attendees at the Rumson session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

What should be done about the crumbling Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown?

Area residents were offered dozens of options Tuesday as Monmouth County officials hit the reset button on an earlier process derailed by a change in federal regulations.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE: CONCEPT PLANS ON DISPLAY

The Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown is in “critical” condition, according to the Monmouth County Engineer’s office, and officials plan to unveil “conceptual alternatives” for its replacement or repair at meetings slated in each town today.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN SPLASH PAD SPUTTERS

bellhaven 110915An entrance to Bellhaven Natural Area on Locust Avenue. A proposed playground would be sited within the of loop the path shown above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A controversial plan for a spray park in Red Bank’s Bellhaven Natural Area has all but officially sputtered out.

The borough-owned riverfront lot at the western end of Locust Avenue is still envisioned as the site of a much-needed West Side playground, according to Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, the governing body’s liaison to the parks and recreation department.

But a spray park or a splash pad that shoots jets of water skyward? That’s done, she tells redbankgreen.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE: CLOSURE BEGINS

oceanic 052515Boaters and kayakers shared the Navesink River with a construction barge at the Oceanic Bridge on Monday, Memorial Day. The 75-year-old span, which links Rumson and Middletown, was scheduled to close to all but marine traffic starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday for repairs to the steel bascule.

During repairs in April, deterioration was discovered in two areas of the bascule not previously accessible, Monmouth County officials said last month. The latest repairs are expected to wrap up with a reopening of the bridge on Saturday, June 13. In the meantime, seasonal rules and scheduling will be in effect for marine traffic. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

OCEANIC BRIDGE: FULL CLOSURE FOR REPAIRS

oceanic bridge 060614 The 75-year-old span will be closed to all but marine traffic for three weeks starting May 26. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Previously unseen deterioration on the Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown will require a full shutdown of the span for three weeks following Memorial Day, Monmouth County reported Wednesday.

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RED BANK: TWO SAVED AFTER BOAT FLIPS

rb h20 rescue 042715 1The sailboat, seen above, righted itself after its two occupants were rescued, a witness said. Below, one of the two people rescued gets some medical attention. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb h20 rescue 042715 2Two boaters were pulled from the chilly Navesink River when their sailboat capsized in brisk winds off Red Bank Monday morning.

The pair were pulled to safety by kayakers, police said.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE: NIGHT CLOSINGS TO START

oceanic bascule 071408Overnight closures of the Oceanic Bridge between Middletown and Rumson are scheduled to begin Tuesday night as ongoing repair work to the 75-year-old span continues, according to Monmouth County officials.

Traffic will be shut down from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., Sunday through Friday morning, until April 30. A routine of single-lane closures during the day is already in effect to enable the contactor, George Harms Construction Company of Howell, to perform required work above and below the bridge deck, according to a county press release. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

RED BANK: RESCUED DEER SAVED – AGAIN

DEER 022815 14The doe allowed caretakers to swaddle it in blankets for several hours Saturday evening, above. Below, the doe struggling to escape the frigid Navesink that afternoon; the deer at left drowned. (Photo above by Stan Balmer, below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

deer 022815 9A deer saved in a dramatic rescue from the frigid waters of the frozen Navesink River Saturday was released later that night – but only after veterinary professionals suggested it be euthanized, redbankgreen has learned.

Second Deputy Fire Chief Pete DeFazio said personnel at the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls told him and other emergency volunteers that the hospital had no facilities for the deer, which while uninjured, was cold and immobile, and would probably be euthanized.

“I said, ‘why, after we went to all this trouble, would you euthanize it?'” DeFazio told redbankgreen Monday evening. “How can you kill this thing after all we went through to save it?”

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RED BANK: DEER RESCUED FROM FROZEN RIVER

Video of the rescue as the boat goes out a second time and brings in a deer. Below, the two deer in the channel they created as they tried to escape. (Video and photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

deer 022815 3One deer was rescued and another drowned after they fell through the ice on the Navesink River off Red Bank Saturday afternoon.

The dramatic rescue of a doe followed an all-out effort by local fire and first aid volunteers assembled on the dock of the Oyster Point Hotel, on the Red Bank side.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE: WORK TO REQUIRE CLOSINGS

oceanic deck 092912A 2012 photo of the Oceanic Bridge surface. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

just_in1The Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown will undergo repair work starting next week that will entail single-lane operation during the daytime and overnight closures until mid-April, the Monmouth County government announced Friday afternoon.

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WEATHER: MILD FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

rb ice 011715Skaters and ice boaters shared the freeze-hardened Navesink River Saturday, as seen from Cooper’s Bridge between Red Bank and Middletown. Then came Sunday’s daylong deluge of nearly an inch-and-a-half of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The forecast for Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day: partial sunshine and a high near 41 degrees. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: INVISIBLE RIVER

rb fog 3 111214Fog enshrouded the Navesink River at the Red Bank Public Library Wednesday morning. (Photos by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: NAVESINK ON NAVESINK

navesink 1 101314 navesink 2 101314How calm was our beautiful Navesink River when reader Michael McMahon went out for stripers Monday morning? So calm that when you flip his photo, it’s hard to tell which version is the true one. (Photo by Michael McMahon. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS HYBRID BULKHEAD

elijah nishiura 072314Red Bank Regional sophomore Elijah Nishiura, center, chats with Environmental Commission chairwoman Laura Bagwell, left, and Carl Alderson, a marine resources specialist at NOAA, after the council voted to restore the rotting library bulkhead, below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb lib bulkhead 2 071013A hotly opposed proposal to rebuild the bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library won approval from the borough council Wednesday night, though the new structure may now incorporate elements of a so-called living shoreline favored by environmentalists.

Then again, the matter could be headed to court if the hybrid approach fails appease the library’s next-door neighbors, whose lawyer continued to imply that he’d sue if anything less than an abrupt wall along the library’s Navesink River frontage is constructed.

“The merits of the living shoreline are neither here nor there,” Michael Vitiello, the attorney for the Corinthian Cove condos, told the council before it voted on the issue. “My clients feel that if you remove the bulkhead… we are no longer going to have lateral support for our earth.”

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RED BANK: BULKHEAD REBUILD ON AGENDA

rb lib bulkhead 4 071013Borough residents are on the hook for replacing the library bulkhead, at right, where environmentalists argue a natural shoreline should be restored.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Its scientists and policy experts may be thought leaders on issues of global warming and ways to head it off. But on the matter of the Navesink River bulkhead at the Red Bank Public Library, Harvard University can’t be bothered to speak, it appears.

Harvard’s continued silence almost a year after Mayor Pasquale Menna reached out to the university for help on a legal issue is about to cost Red Bank taxpayers and, environmentalists contend, result in a wrongheaded fix along the shoreline.

A controversial plan to rebuild the crumbling bulkhead, rather than allow for the restoration of a natural shoreline, is expected to move ahead Wednesday night.

It’s time for “finality” on the issue, which involves insurance and liability issues as well as environmental ones, Menna told redbankgreen Monday.

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WHO FIXED THE NAVESINK OSPREY NEST?

OSPREY NEST 1 050214The osprey nest as see Friday morning, above, and a year ago, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

osprey nest 050913 2A precariously leaning home to ospreys in the Navesink River has been fixed, according to a report on a conservation website.

The pole, a decommissioned channel marker between Fair Haven and Middletown, was nearly toppled during Hurricane Sandy, according to the original report by Ben Wurst, habitat program manager for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

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NAVESINK RIVER OSPREY NEST NEEDS TLC

osprey nest 050913 2The osprey nest as seen last May. Below, adult ospreys sunning on a Red Bank dock last April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

ospreys 3 042413Wildlife conservationists are looking for help to save the precariously leaning Navesink River home to an osprey nest before it falls over, according to a report on newsworks.org.

The pole, a decommissioned channel marker between Fair Haven and Middletown, was nearly toppled during Hurricane Sandy, according to the report, based on a blog post by Ben Wurst, habitat program manager for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

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