Federal funds cover costs at cultural center

By sandi carpello
Staff Writer

By sandi carpello
Staff Writer

RED BANK — The Children’s Cultural Center is one step closer to its new home.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development last week awarded a $447,095 Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grant to the borough-based educational institution, which seeks to expose children ages 2 through 12 to the visual and performing arts.

The grant will go toward funding the interior renovation of their soon-to-be new facility at 51 Monmouth St. — the site of the old borough police station.

For the past year, the Children’s Cultural Center has been functioning out of the Red Bank Community YMCA’s Count Basie Achievement Branch, 138 James Parker Blvd.

"We’re thrilled," Mayor Ed McKenna said. "The building’s exterior is already finished. The demolition of the interior is done, and now we just need to construct the new interior. With luck, it could be finished in about a year."

The EDI program, which directs funding to a wide variety of community and housing activities, assists community organizations in their efforts to improve financially distressed areas by developing a stronger welfare infrastructure through the construction of existing grassroots facilities.

Such measures will enable and empower communities to better address the concerns of their residents.

According to Red Bank YMCA spokeswoman Ann Ciabatonni, the grant will help not only disadvantaged children, but "all children."

Mayor Edward McKenna said the receipt of the grant would not have been possible without the assistance of former Sen. Robert Toricelli; Sen. John Corzine, who did a great deal of work on the grant application; and U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, "who helped finalize the whole thing," McKenna said.

"Receiving the grant is further evidence of people’s confidence in Red Bank and confidence in our children," he said.