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 »

RED BANK: DEMOCRATS REASSERT CONTROL

yvonne-erik-yngstrom-010116Erik Yngstrom embraces his mother, Yvonne Yngstrom, after giving his oath as councilman. Below, Kathy Horgan began her fourth term on the council and was elected its president. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kathy-horgan-010117Red Bank’s first Republican majority in a generation ended after just a year Sunday, when Democrats regained control of the borough council.

With the addition of political newcomer Erik Yngstrom to the governing body, the Democrats now share 3-3 parity with the GOP on the council. But with the support of three-term Mayor Pasquale Menna as the tiebreaker to any potential deadlock, the Democrats wasted no time in doling out key jobs to partisans.

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RED BANK: A TASTY TAKE FOR HABITAT FUNDER

Habitat for Humanity awardsMore than $50,000 was raised for Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County on May 16, when the Oyster Point Hotel hosted the nonprofit’s first-ever “Taste for Homes” food and wine tasting event.

More than two dozen Red Bank area restaurants and vendors offered samplings of their wares, while attendees enjoyed prize raffles, auctions, and the opportunity to help congratulate special honorees T&M Associates of Middletown (Corporate Citizen Award), radio station WRAT 95.9 (Community partner Award) and Beverly Lawrence of Fair Haven (Outstanding Volunteer Award), in addition to celebrating “the many women volunteers that have what it takes to pound nails, frame walls, raise a roof and create HOPE!” (Photo by Mario Marcal Studios. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: A TASTE FOR VOLUNTEERING

The Oyster Point Hotel 3Press release from Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County

On the evening of Monday, May 16, The Oyster Point Hotel will be the host venue as Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County hosts its inaugural food and wine tasting event, A Taste for Homes. Scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., the event celebrates the impact and difference that volunteers and companies can make to providing people in the community with a decent place to live.

Over two dozen local vendors and restaurants are slated to participate in the tasting event, with all proceeds going to support the organization’s efforts this year throughout their service territory that covers 83 percent of Monmouth County.

During the event the nonprofit organization will pay tribute to a set of individual and corporate honorees, in addition to celebrating “the many women volunteers that have what it takes to pound nails, frame walls, raise a roof and create HOPE!”

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RED BANK: T&M SERVES UP SERVICE

t&M_Lunch_BreakAs part of a “50 Ways of Giving” community service campaign in observance of its 50th anniversary, executives from Middletown-based engineering firm T&M Associates (including President/CEO Gary Dahms ) joined the staff of Lunch Break in Red Bank on January 20. T&M employees were on site at the Red Bank facility to provide food and clothing to Monmouth County families who need help and supplies during this winter season. The “50 Ways of Giving” initiative continues throughout 2016, with employees encouraged to participate in 50 acts of volunteerism during the firm’s milestone year. 

RED BANK: GOP SHAKES UP TOWN HALL

mike whelan 010216 2Mike Whelan, 24, at his swearing in as Red Bank councilman. Below, Whelan running mate Mark Taylor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: The original version of this story misreported the name of the borough prosecutor who was replaced Saturday.]

By JOHN T. WARD

mark taylor 010216 1The first Republican majority in a generation showed up at Red Bank borough hall Saturday with a broom.

Ousted were:

• Borough engineer Christine Ballard, of T&M Associates of Middletown, replaced by Bill White of borough-based Maser Consulting.

• Borough Attorney Dan O’Hern, the son of a former mayor, who was replaced by Jean Cipriani, a lawyer with a Toms River firm headed by the chairman of the Ocean County GOP.

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RED BANK: WELL ADVANCES; T&M MAY NOT

rb water plant 102215Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, center, and DPU supervisor Bob Holiday check out construction on a lime feeder room at the DPU complex on Chestnut Street in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Working against a ticking clock, Red Bank’s engineering consultant got the go-ahead Monday night to design a new backup supply well for the borough-owned water utility at the Chestnut Street public works complex.

But the $82,500 contract was authorized amid rumblings that it may be among the last granted to T&M Associates under the Democratic majority that has controlled the borough council for a generation.

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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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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

sb-beach-plowPlowing the sand mounds in Sea Bright. Can summer be far behind? (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Welcome back to another week at redbankgreen. Here’s a glance back at the stories that filled our cyberpages last week.

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