RED BANK: SUNSET PARK CONCEPT TO DEBUT

The so-called Sunset Park concept plan includes a soccer field, riverfront boardwalk, kayak launch and other amenities. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents will get their first look Monday night at a concept plan for a new park on the town’s long-closed landfill site overlooking the Swimming River.

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RED BANK: RESIDENTS RESIST DUMP-SITE PARK

The audience at the Celestial Lodge Friday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents delivered a message to borough officials Friday night about a new park proposed at the town’s long-closed landfill site: not everyone wants it.

At a town-hall-style meeting held at the Celestial Lodge #36 on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, area residents expressed concerns that the dump might never be made safe for public use.

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RED BANK: FISH KILL INVESTIGATED

navesink fish 051415 1Dead fish at the Navesink River Rowing facility in Red Bank in 2015. Another widespread die-off of menhaden, or bunker fish, has been underway in the river in recent days, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is investigating, according to a report by NJ.com.

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RED BANK: PLANTING SEEDS FOR FUTURE PARK

A map showing the extended former landfill site outlined in green. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

We need a skatepark. We need a playgrounds for West Side kids. We need to remember that this is a neighborhood that can’t handle throngs of out-of-town visitors.

Red Bank residents offered those and other suggestions as the process of shaping a new waterfront park out of the former town dump got underway with a community brainstorming session last Thursday night.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN GETS HOSED AGAIN

Bellhaven Wetland Map 1Critics contend the Bellhaven sprayground has little popular support.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It wasn’t on the agenda, but a proposed water playground on Red Bank’s West Side spewed back to the fore Wednesday night.

At issue: whether to keep spending money on prep work for the controversial four-year-old project, which has been temporarily derailed by the discovery of heating oil in the soil.

Counting at least three prospective “no” votes on the six-member council, Republican Cindy Burnham asked: “Why do we continue to use taxpayer money to pay [engineering consultant] T&M Associates for soil testing and permits?”

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RED BANK: LACK OF OXYGEN KILLING FISH

navesink fish 051415 1Dead fish at the Navesink River Rowing facility in Red Bank Thursday morning. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_03A fish kill in the Navesink River in recent weeks is a result of natural phenomenon, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The newspaper reports that the state Department of Environmental Protection attributes the die-off of hundreds of bunker to a lack of oxygen in shallow water as they’re driven upriver by bluefish.

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RED BANK: BOAT RESCUERS WIN PLAUDITS

altimari 081314Patrolwoman Kristin Altimari checks out her commendation for heroism. Also honored for roles in the rescue were public works employee Josh Schmidt, in yellow, and fire Chief Tommy Welsh, center, with Councilman Ed Zipprich and Mayor Pasquale Menna. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Just four months into her career as a police officer, Red Bank Patrolwoman Kristin Altimari drew praise Wednesday for quick thinking and heroism for helping four young women adrift in a boat on the Swimming River Saturday night.

The 30-year-old former Ocean County high school teacher, who joined the police department in March, was the primary actor in a brief drama involving a quartet of swimsuited teenage girls who found themselves helpless in a one-oared rowboat in the darkness of the Swimming River.

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RED BANK: DRIFTING BOAT PROMPTS SEARCH

rb river rescue 080914 1 rb river rescue 080914 2Draped in firefighters’ coats, four teenage girls were safe in Red Bank Saturday night after losing an oar to a dinghy they’d launched from Conover Lane in Middletown and drifitng in the darkness of the Swimming River. At right, volunteer fire and rescue workers searched the phragmites behind a home on Chapin Avenue hoping to intercept the boat, which landed at River Street with the help of a Red Bank policewoman at around 10 p.m., about an hour after it was reported adrift.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

OVERNIGHT CLOSINGS FOR BRIDGE PLANNED

hubbard  plan 2008A rendering from 2012 shows the new bridge, now under construction, in red, just to the north of the existing span. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

This just in from the Monmouth County engineering department Wednesday afternoon:

Beginning tonight, from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m., the bridge on West Front Street over Swimming River will be closed for the delivery and setting of the beams for the new bridge.

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NEWMAN SPRINGS ROAD SQUEEZE BEGINS

The narrowing of twin Newman Springs Road (Route 520) bridges over the Swimming River got its first test at rush hour Tuesday morning with a long line of vehicles heading eastbound from Lincroft into Red Bank. A project to replace the decks of the two bridges is expected to take six months, with traffic reduced to one lane in each direction for the duration, according to Monmouth County officials. (Click to enlarge)

SIX-MONTH ROUTE 520 BOTTLENECK TO BEGIN

One of two spans will remain open throughout the duration of the project, but with just one lane in each direction. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A taxing season begins Monday night for commuters who use Route 520 to get into and out of Red Bank.

Following the evening rush, traffic across the twin decks of the bridge over the Swimming River, between Hance Avenue and the Garden State Parkway, will be narrowed from two lanes in each direction to one.

Those few souls who traverse the span on foot –  or use it for fishing and crabbing – will be entirely out of luck: no pedestrian access will be permitted at all.

“Motorists should expect delays and are encouraged to plan alternate routes for the next six months,” the county government says in a press release, which is an improvement from last month, when it was warning of an eight-month timetable.

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BOTTLENECK AHEAD AT ROUTE 520 SPANS

Motorists will face a narrowing of the twin bridges to one lane in each direction for up to eight months, officials said. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The heavily traveled Newman Springs Road/Route 520 bridges linking Red Bank and Lincroft are in for a belt-tightening.

The four-lane connectors between Parkway exit 109 and points east will be narrowed to one lane in each direction for up to eight months during repairs, Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone announced in a press release late Wednesday.

Work is scheduled to start on or soon after April 1, with vehicular traffic pared to two lanes for the duration, and pedestrian usage banned, according to the announcement. Weather permitting, the job is expected to wrap up in late November.

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RED BANK: PRIMARY SCHOOL STILL UP IN AIR

A dumpster loaded with discarded carpeting and other material sits outside the Red Bank Primary School, which remained closed Monday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After two weeks, Red Bank Primary School students were able to finally make their return to school Monday – just not their own school.

Displaced students attended a morning session at the middle school, before the middle school students arrived for an afternoon session.

The primary school, adjoining the Swimming River, was built on marshland, and suffered major flood damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy two weeks ago. According to Superintendent Laura Morana, over two-thirds of the school’s flooring and carpeting were rendered unusable in Sandy’s wake.

“The school has been in existence for over 40 years,” Morana told redbankgreen, “and this by far the worst damage we’ve faced as a result of weather.”

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BELLHAVEN PARK NEEDS TLC

bellhaven-parkRed Bank officials are seeking funds for the Bellhaven Park nature area on Locust Avenue. Below, a map from the 2006 waterfront plan. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

swimming-riverBellhaven Park, an oft-overlooked waterfront parcel in Red Bank’s inventory of natural areas, could use a little help — any kind of help, says borough Engineer Christine Ballard.

Sequestered away from the public eye at the western end of Locust Avenue, it’s never gotten the kind of use or attention from residents that other parks see. Now, general neglect at the park, designated as a passive natural area, has led it to become a little bit too natural, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

The Swimming River has swallowed up at least half of a floating dock at the park, and the heavy brush of native and invasive species has made some winding paths almost impassable.

“It’s like a jungle down there,” Menna said. “It needs to be accessible and safer. Even our own (police) patrols can’t even go in there because of the overgrowth.”

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BOATHOUSE STALLED BY HYDRANT ISSUE

foundationGeoff Johnson’s unfinished Boathouse at Red Bank, and a rendering of what it’s to look like, below. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

boathouse-elev060711

While the Red Bank government is working to show that the town is “open for business,” a West Side property owner is among those who say the door still isn’t open wide enough.

“I would have to agree with everyone who’s ever said Red Bank is difficult to do business with,” said Geoff Johnson, who has approved plans to build a kayak and canoe rental and boat club on the banks of the Swimming River, at the north end of Shrewsbury Avenue.

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AUTHORITIES SEARCH FOR RED BANK WOMAN

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

052011aAuthorities have confirmed that Thursday’s “police operation” in the area of the Upper Navesink River in Red Bank was part of an on-going investigation for a Bank Street woman who went missing last week.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said it had launched an investigation, along with Red Bank and Eatontown police, into the whereabouts of 26-year-old Viridiana Beltran-Gomez, right.

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COPS, CHOPPER ON SCENE AT RIVER STREET

chopperA helicopter hovered above the water at the foot of River Street Thursday morning as authorities conducted unknown “police operations.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

[Editor’s Note: This story is updated with information from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.]

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank and Monmouth County authorities are conducting “police operations” in the area of River Street, next to the primary school, which include a helicopter and police in a boat where Swimming River meets the upper Navesink River.

One official was overheard saying the efforts are related to a missing person report, but declined to confirm that information, and deferred all questioning to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni would not comment further on the activity, only saying it’s a “law enforcement operation.”

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