What is happening with the old Red Bank Middle School Property on Dayton Blvd?
Since the old Red Bank Middle School was demolished back in 2013, residents have been requesting that the 11.12-acre lot be transformed into a town center and community hub. For years we have been promised that at least ¼ of the space would be preserved as a public park, with some mixed-use development. The great thing about dense commercial and residential construction (no higher than 2.5) stories is that it maximizes property tax revenue per acre while complimenting a park (much like Coolidge Park). A flexible use green space will give Red Bank a much-needed venue for community events and encouraging people to stay longer and patronize more Red Bank businesses, raising our sales tax revenue as well. Unfortunately, the Request for Proposals (RFP) released on Sep 1 of this year states that the City "seeks to sell the real estate" and "is not seeking to have any form of partnership role in the development of the site" (source: Red Bank RFP for old Middle School property). There is no mention of the formerly promised park or green space whatsoever. I find this highly concerning. If elected, not only will I fight to revise the RFP to ensure that a significant percentage of the 11.12-acre property be protected as a public park and community hub as promised to our citizens, I will actively seek out community input so that the development of this last remaining open space in downtown Red Bank is directed by the desires of our citizens rather than solely the profits of a developer.
I want to get more involved but I’m having a hard time finding information. What’s the best way to keep up with what’s happening in our city?
As a citizen, I’ve also had frequent difficulty finding information I needed about our municipal government. Whether I’m looking for upcoming development, community events, or important announcements that affect all Red Bank citizens, I end up digging in time-consuming searches of an outdated and less than user-friendly city website. Also, despite the City already owning the equipment necessary to record and upload commission meetings online for everyone to view, only brief PDF minute summaries are publicly available. If elected, will advocate for website improvements and updates, official city social media accounts, email newsletters citizens can subscribe to, and most importantly video recordings or even live streamed commission meetings that will be accessible for all citizens whether they are able to attend in person or not. We all lead busy lives. Making civic engagement easily accessible to our citizens should be the responsibility of our government and will result in greater transparency and accountability across the board.
What does the Red Bank Commission do?
Red Bank Commissioners meet twice a month on the first and third Tuesdays at 5pm for an Agenda Planning Session then at 6pm for their regular Commission meeting. In that meeting they hear readings of ordinances and proposals, listen to citizen comments, and vote on those ordinances and proposals to keep the city of Red Bank running smoothly and efficiently. Commission meetings just one small part of a commissioner’s responsibilities though. Commissioners must also be available to their neighbors to hear and address their concerns, and actively work to inform those neighbors informed about issues from pothole and streetlight repair to taxes and zoning decisions. They have to thoroughly research local issues in order to make informed decisions. They should also be active in the community attending meetings, business openings, and events so they can stay in touch with and represent the people who elected them.
What district am I in? Can I vote for you?
Every Red Bank voter gets to vote on every single commissioner, regardless of which district they live in. That means this November, you will see all three(3) Red Bank commissioner seats on your ballot; District 1 (that’s me!) District 2, and an At-Large seat.Only candidates have to worry about what district they are in as they have to reside in the correct district to be eligible for the District 1, 2, or 3 seats.
I’ve researched your platform and I will definitely be voting for you for the District 1 seat! Is there a candidate you hope to work with for the District 2 or At-Large seat that will also be on the ballot?
For the District 2 seat, I can wholeheartedly recommend Stefanie Dalton. She is a dedicated social worker and mother and is passionate about making Red Bank a thriving city that works for all our citizens. She and I met for the first time at the Election Commission after turning in our nomination forms, started talking, and realized we align on all the major issues facing our city. We hope for the opportunity to work together to advocate for some of the changes our neighbors are asking for.
As for the At-Large seat, Stefanie and I have met both candidates and they both seemed friendly and invested Red Bank’s success. Unfortunately, we do not have enough information to reliably endorse either candidate at this time. We recommend you reach out to each of them to find out which one best aligns with the local issues that concern you most.
I’m worried about my recent WWTA sewer rate increase. Is there anything the city can do about that?
Red Bank citizens are suffering greatly as a result of decades of deferred maintenance and upgrades to our sewer infrastructure. In fact it was put off so long that we began to be fined by the EPA for non-compliance in the EPA consent decree of 2012. It is my understanding that the recent 12% rate increase that went into effect on 10/1/20, (and was approved by one of the current City commissioners who also sits on the WWTA board), is intended to pay for those long overdue repairs and upgrades of existing sewer infrastructure. As your elected Commissioner, I will advocate for renegotiation of these rates and for utility assistance programs that serve Red Bank citizens with low- or fixed-incomes.
How do you feel about new modern homes built in old neighborhoods of traditional houses?
As an artist, I appreciate the importance of architectural design and visual cohesion. As a fellow homeowner, I understand the concerns residents may have about the changes occurring in their neighborhoods. While growth can be a positive thing for all Red Bank residents, it should be done correctly with existing residents’ interests in mind. It is the responsibility of the commission to ensure through proper zoning enforcement that as our city grows, we do not lose the character we all love.