Council throws out Marine Park proposals

Staff Writer

RED BANK – After several months of deliberation, the borough council rejected all proposals for Marine Park.

At the Nov 23 borough council meeting, members voted down all three proposals regarding the future of the red clay tennis courts in the park.

The move was applauded during the during the meeting’s public comments.

“I want to thank the council for taking a step back and letting the air cool a little bit before you decide what to do with Marine Park. I think that’s a good first step,” said resident Tom Curtis.

Curtis also asked what this decision would mean for the process of remaining the area.

“The question I have now is how should you proceed and how should the public proceed when starting a dialog to figure out what we should do with Marine Park,” Curtis said.

Mayor Pasquale Manna responded by saying, “Realistically, nothing is going to happen between now and the end of the year… [We’re] winding down so whatever initiatives will probably be undertaken in January and going forward. I think it’s only fair and the right thing to do.”

The borough accepted the three proposals before the April 15 deadline.

One proposal included taking a private donation of $500,000 to reconstruct the courts.

The second, dubbed Red Bank Harbor, was proposed by Jetsun Enterprises. The plans included replacing the courts with a miniature golf course and a miniature ice hockey rink along with a paddleboat station on the river.

The final proposal, dubbed Red Bank Activity Center that was proposed by Red Bank Activity Center LLC, planned to have a boathouse in the area of the red clay tennis courts, giving residents access to the river with instructional sailing classes and rowing classes

According to Menna, it is unlikely the borough will undergo another RFP process when deciding what to do with the area.

“I can see no reason to go through an RFP process personally. I think it that it has to be an open process so discussions can take place in a calm and deliberative atmosphere, with various options expressed and exchanged. That could be done either with Parks and Recreation or it could be done in focus groups.”

According to Linda Schwabenbauer, council liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee, there is planned to be a private committee meeting to discuss how to move forward.

“What I’d like to do before the end of the year is have a direction on how we’re going to proceed. I don’t want to close out the year and not know where we’re going in 2016,” said Schwabenbauer.

Moving forward, according to Schwabenbauer, the committee will try to get as much public input as they can.

“What we’ll strive to do is to have a lot of public input on it and to have a lot of conversations,” said Schwabenbauer.

The resolution passed unanimously with Councilwoman Sharon Lee and Councilman Michael DuPont absent.

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