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: 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: PARK, VACANT SITES ON AGENDA

The council may authorize the creation of a concept plan to turn the former landfill at West Sunset Avenue into a park.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council has a packed agenda for its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, including possible progress toward a long-dreamed-of new park on the West Side and some bad news for landlords who neglect vacant properties.

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BUILDING THE RANKS OF FEMALE ENGINEERS

jacki flor 041814Jacki Flor on the site of the Sea Bright municipal parking lot reconstruction, which she’s overseeing, and Christine Ballard, giving a presentation in Red Bank below, say their interest in solving mechanical problems was nurtured when they were girls. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

c ballard 52609Of the 565 towns and cities in New Jersey, only 19 have female municipal engineers. And two of them serve towns on the Green: Christine Ballard in Red Bank, and Jaclyn Flor, in Sea Bright.

Municipal engineers are the brains behind public infrastructure, designing everything from crosswalks to sewer lift stations. They pursue grants to pay for ballfields and bulkheads. And they serve as emissaries, navigating the often choppy waters between zoning board applicants, contractors, elected officials and taxpayers.

In that realm, a woman’s point of view and way of communicating can often be helpful, Ballard said.

“There have been a lot of men doing this for a long time, and I’m sure they did it well,” she told redbankgreen. But “there’s been a wonderful transition to women in government,” and it turns out that other women are “sometimes better at translating projects, and why we need to spend a million dollars to fix the water plant,” to diverse constituencies, she said.

In fact, the broader field of engineering could use many more women, which is why the American Association of University Women and the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore are putting on an event at Brookdale Community College on Saturday to encourage girls to consider careers as engineers.

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RUMSON UPS FLOOR LEVELS IN FLOOD ZONES

Blue markers on an aerial view of Rumson indicate homes that were damaged by floods during Hurricane Sandy. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rumson became the first town on the Green to change its building standards in the wake of Hurricane Sandy when it boosted minimum first-floor levels in flood zones Tuesday night.

After storm-driven tides sent surges as high as 12 feet into homes along the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, the borough council approved a zoning change that sets a new minimum level of 13 feet above base flood elevations in waterfront zones, replacing minimums of eight, nine and 10 feet.

The changes, and a pledge to revisit the ordinance after the Federal Emergency Management Administration issues new elevation guidelines, expected within the next two weeks, mostly drew praise from residents who said their efforts to resolve insurance claims and rebuild their homes would have been stalled by inaction.

“People need to tell their insurance companies” what the Rumson standard is “so they can decide whether to stay and rebuild, raise their homes or move,” said borough Administrator Tom Rogers. “We’re trying to help them.”

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T&M TOPS CONTRACTOR DONOR LIST

money-full-columnMiddletown-based civil engineering firm T&M Associates was the state’s biggest contributor to political campaigns among businesses that contract with local and state government in New Jersey, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The state Election Law Enforcement Commission reported that for the fifth straight year, T&M — which holds contracts with both Middletown and Red Bank — topped the list of donor/contractor firms disclosing contributions under so-called ‘pay-to-play’ laws.

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