Cost the biggest factor in Broad St. holiday lighting

Cost the biggest factor in Broad St. holiday lighting

By linda denicola

Staff Writer

It seems that Red Bank’s holiday lighting is a never-ending source of opinion and emotion. There was more discussion about that issue at Monday’s RiverCenter board meeting than there was discussion about the proposed $400,000 budget.

Ingeborg Perndorfer, chairwoman of RiverCenter’s board of directors, reported that she had received two calls from people who love the new decorations on Broad Street. She asked for a show of hands from the 30 or so board members present as to who liked or disliked the white lights and wreaths.

Only four or five people said they didn’t like the white lights as much as the colored lights that used to festoon the town or that now hang on Monmouth Street.

Councilman Robert J. Bifani, who had been the council liaison to RiverCenter until Monday night when he announced he was stepping down, said he would like to see the colored lights brought back. In contrast, Jack Readie of Readie’s Fine Foods on Monmouth Street said his customers tell him that the town looks beautiful.

Lloyd Garrison, owner of Lloyd’s Gallery on Broad Street, is not happy with the little white lights in the trees along the street and said he thought the lighted wreaths looked like basketball hoops. He commented that the colored lights made the town look different from other towns, so many of which have white lights.

Garrison said he has 100 names on a petition in his office to bring back the old lights.

Perndorfer, who is about to begin her second term as chairwoman, explained the facts of life for holiday lighting in the borough. "The lights are 30 years old and have to be refurbished," she said. "We don’t even have the wires anymore. You’re talking about a cost of $150,000. We don’t have that kind of money."

She also said that RiverCenter has spent more than $200,000 on Christmas lights over the last 10 years. "That’s a lot of money," she remarked. "The practical considerations make it impractical."

Perndorfer, who is Austrian, said she doesn’t like any of the artificial lighting. "I would like to see real greenery and real candles like in Austria," she noted.

Borough Administer Stanley Sickels, who also is the town’s fire marshal, said jokingly, "Not on my watch."

Garrison, who admitted that he was not aware of the variables that Perndorfer listed, said he would like to be on the holiday lighting task force this coming year.

"We need a real big fund-raiser," Readie said.