RED BANK – The Monmouth Boat Club, which has occupied the same site on the Navesink River for 140 years, is standing behind a proposal to renovate the damaged clay tennis courts on Union Street next to neighboring Marine Park.
In a two-page letter addressed to the Red Bank Borough Council, Mayor and Parks and Recreation Committee, Tuesday, MBC’s Commodore Pat Corr said it reviewed the three proposals recently submitted for the Marine Park Green Acres Development plan and concluded “a refurbished, quality tennis venue preserves a 70+ year tradition and is simply the best immediate and long-term plan for this portion of Marine Park.”
Additionally, the club said it supports including the Navesink River Rowing organization in the riverfront part of the Marine Park development.
Recently the borough heard three presentations on how to best use the area where the tennis courts were badly damaged by Super Storm Sandy.
The plan supported by MBC was an offer by Rumson resident James P. Cullen to give $500,000 to the town, with $400,000 to be used to restore the tennis courts and the other $100,000 to maintain and operate them.
Another proposal was made by a group of local residents called the Marine Park Activity Center that would allow for the expansion of the programs of Navesink River Rowing group and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association to encourage public recreational use of the water front.
The letter from the boat club said that it was in favor of having a common facility that could be shared by the tennis courts and the rowing group, smaller than the one that had been proposed by the Marine Park Activity Center.
Not mentioned was the third proposal by Jetsun Enterprises which included a year-round ice-skating rink, a miniature golf course, boat rental facilities and a visitors center for the borough.
Club member Tom Slaight said that the delay in renovation of the tennis court area had gone on too long and the plan for the courts restoration would take the least time.
“It’s ready to go,” he said.
Slaight said that he would attend the Borough Council meeting on June 10 but did not believe any action would be taken on the proposals at the meeting since the borough website gave June 19 as the closing date for residents to submit comments about them.
Among the 15 reasons the club gave for support of fixing up the tennis courts were that it provides healthy recreation, that it does not interfere with peaceful and quiet enjoyment of Marine Park and its neighbors, does not add automobile traffic, overburden parking, and does not require additional policing.
Culturally, it provides a high quality venue few towns could afford, is a sustainable recreational activity that has been in existence for centuries, retains Marine Park’s heritage as a unique waterfront destination having refrained from “carnival-like concessions” and its long history in the borough.
Also, the tennis facility “is fully funded and presents no financial risk to the borough” and that that rejuvenation of the tennis courts “is a $500,000 gift that the Borough of Red Bank should not reject.”
“We are stewards of the Navesink River and are ever mindful of the long-term enjoyment of the waterfront especially in Marine Park,” said Corr.
– By Liz Sheehan
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