Some mistakes can prove positive


dmitting you’ve been wrong is a hard thing to do, especially when you’re doing it publicly.

That is why it was refreshing, and surprising, when at their last meeting RiverCenter officials said they may have made a mistake in laying bricks on Broad Street Plaza.

As drivers and pedestrians in Red Bank know, the plaza is the lumpy, bumpy intersection of Broad and Front streets. Here the bricks that make the crosswalks have an uneven surface and are rocky in spots. RiverCenter said that at the outset of the streetscape project, which lined the Broad Street sidewalks with bricks, the bumpy bricks for the crosswalk seemed like a good idea.

In fact, they hypothesized that their surface might even mitigate the slippery conditions of winter.

Visitors and downtown employees can attest that it didn’t work out that way. In fact, winter walking may have even been made worse by the bricks. And so far not even bumpy bricks have slowed down drivers.

For the able-bodied, the undulating terrain may only mean spilled coffee as they cross the street. However, for the disabled the bricks tend to be a difficult obstacle. Either way, consensus seems to be they’re annoying and not worth having in their present bumpy state.

Now RiverCenter’s new board chair, Ingeborg Perndorfer, says the downtown business alliance recognizes the problem and is thinking about grinding the bricks down to a smooth surface or turning them over to their smooth side.

In the past RiverCenter has bristled at any criticism, as if it shouldn’t come under the same scrutiny given to towns, schools and businesses that affect the public’s way of life. However, this admission of trying and failing at something, even on a seemingly small issue, may in fact be heralding a new attitude for the alliance — one where constructive criticism has a place.

There isn’t a town or organization that doesn’t make mistakes. But it’s the ones who do so gracefully and honestly that win the public’s affection.

Perndorfer appears to be taking the business district in a positive, pro-active direction, and that, in this paper’s opinion, is a welcome change

A good plan for Tredwell House?


t’s 10:35 p.m. (Monday, March 6). I just got back from the Rumson Planning Board meeting on the proposed subdivision of the Tredwell site. Quite frankly, I was as shocked by some of the Planning Board member’s apparent biases as I was appalled by the subdivision plan itself.

The meeting started with a member pushing his slant that the master plan is not that significant and that the ordinance (actual law) does little to help protect the house. I can’t really comprehend how "Sites of historical, archaeological, cultural, scenic or architectural significance should be identified, maintained and conserved" (policy No. 4 of the master plan) could be stated more clearly. Yet somehow here was a member trying to convince us to not believe what is written.

After this enlightening interpretation, another board member informed us that somehow this plan, a "good plan," was actually doing us a favor. He (the applicant) could have flattened the house, built a nice wide paved road, sidewalks, a lovely cul-de-sac, you know, like the kind where they shoot neighborhood scenes for movies like ET and Poltergeist. But this is Rumson and maybe that wasn’t the best possible plan. So they asked for a new plan, maybe a little more country-lane-like. But before we got to see this Shangri-la, we had to endure yet another board member’s praise.

Three unofficial votes already, loud and clear (much clearer than the soon-to-be-debated contaminated runoff issues) for this "good plan." I felt a bit like I was 11 years old sitting at the Thanksgiving table being told by my World War II-hardened grandfather to eat my squash and like it.

Show me this light at the end of the tunnel — the "good plan" that saves the Tredwell House. Well, sort of saves it. A bunch of pieces anyway. Actually three pieces, (the other pieces don’t really matter anyway, right?) get dragged over to a new house where half will be brand new and half 300 years old. Oh, and add three more new houses, too.

I certainly mean no disrespect to the gentleman who, it was painfully clear, had less than no desire to be presenting his client’s plan to this quietly brooding crowd.

The gentleman said that this was a "good plan" and quite standard for most of Monmouth County. Yeah, maybe so. I might even buy that if it were an empty wooded lot. But hello, there is a 300-year-old "historic, architecturally significant" home smack in the middle of this lot. That’s not standard in any town, in any county, anywhere in New Jersey.

To me, kicking three pieces of history into a new house is not really what we, nor our past planners, had in mind. Well, maybe we should ask them. Maybe we should ask the new owner why he voted yes to adopt the revised master plan to save historic homes. Maybe he was just kidding back then. But it seems he’s serious now.

Go to the next meeting and see for yourself.

Eric Von Arx


Diallo verdict an American disgrace


sat in the car, shocked but not surprised, after hearing that the four white police officers who fired 41 bullets at Amadou Diallo were acquitted. This verdict is a travesty, as have been so many others. It brings shame on the New York City police force and the American legal system.

This case is about nothing, if not about race and class. When Amadou Diallo fell in a hail of police bullets, with him died the last illusion of justice, and what may well be the last hope for racial reconciliation in this country.

What began as a personal tragedy for the Diallo family has now become a tragedy of enormous proportions, and a national disgrace.

Margaret Rice Moir

Fair Haven

Thanks for having a heart to help kids


letter of thanks to all at The Hub who helped promote our "Have a Heart for Red Bank Kids," a reception and art auction held on Feb. 13 at the Chetkin Gallery in Red Bank to assist the Red Bank Education Foundation in the purchase of lab equipment for the Red Bank Middle School. All those who either donated artwork or other services, plus all those who either attended or sent donations, played a vital part in the success of the event, and we thank you and your staff for promoting our endeavors.

Lee P. Klem

Member of the board

Red Bank Education


Thanks, say Red Bank soccer mom (and dad)


e would like to send a big thank you to all of the soccer coaches that helped make the Red Bank Recreation indoor soccer program a success. Our children really enjoyed the program!

A special thank you to Dave Callahan who made sure "Soccer Sundays" ran smoothly, and for the countless hours he spent at the Middle School gym!

The Tomaino Family

Red Bank

Skaters are a part of streetscape


would first like to thank and applaud The Hub for its view on the proposed skateboarding ban in Red Bank. I agree that Red Bank has spent a lot on crafting its image and it should spend a little on its own kids.

I know that a lot of people in the area agree with this view, but don’t want to be seen as rebellious because skateboarding is looked down on by many (who don’t really understand the sport). I spend a lot of time in Red Bank and most of the skateboarders I see have been courteous and often stop when people walk by to avoid hurting anyone. These kids are as much a part of the streetscape of Red Bank as the lovely renovations in the downtown area.

There are many other less prosperous towns in the country which have set up skate parks for their kids. I think that "liability" is just an excuse to avoid dealing with the issue. Why not do a study and see how others have dealt with this?

I agree that safety is important and that kids shouldn’t be skateboarding on private property, but why should they have to leave their town to skate? They are keeping busy, having fun and are close to home. Why wouldn’t we want to invest in an area in town where this can continue?

I have often sat and watched the skateboarders do their tricks and have been extremely impressed by their agility and control. I think that skateboarding should be given the same credence as any other mainstream sport.

When I think about Red Bank being called the "hippest town" in New Jersey, I always think that, in part, it is because Red Bank has allowed its community to express its creativity in innovative and alternative ways. That is what makes it hip, not just the antique stores, Victorian lighting or chic holiday decorations.

I think the skateboarding kids are symbolic of what makes Red Bank hip. Outlawing them without some other accommodation makes me think that Red Bank has swallowed its own hype and has lost its sense of purpose. Borough families, many of whom have kids who skateboard, have helped to create and maintain your image, Red Bank. You, the town, should feel obligated to spend a little to cater to them and their kids.

Vera Sansone

Fair Haven

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Skateboarding — it’s about freedom


anning skating in Red Bank is yet another example of legislation that turns average citizens into criminals. If skateboarding has become such a pervasive problem in Red Bank, then why not address the problem in terms of loitering.

Skateboarders often spend hours at a particular spot, such as a curb or a step, which challenges their abilities. Such activities should not be considered illegal provided it is public property and it is not presenting a safety hazard to pedestrians. If for any reason such skaters become a problem, they should be treated as loiterers. This leaves the borough streets available to those skaters who have the common sense not to become a nuisance.

Skating is sport, a form of transportation and a social activity, which only requires a skateboard and skill. It requires no lift ticket, monthly fee or license, and thus it is a sport based on freedom. If Red Bank bans skating, it will be yet another piece of legislation that chips away not only at the freedom of skaters but the freedoms on which this country was founded. If we continue to create such ridiculous legislation, we will find ourselves living in a police state.

Kevin Welch

Sea Bright