Celebrating Year One of Red Bank-Shrewsbury Patch
Thank you to all of the readers who have made Red Bank-Shrewsbury Patch a regular stop for news in the past year.
It was a year and a day ago that I sat at a table in a nearly empty Zebu Forno on Broad Street and waited on a conference call. Broad Street was the empty divide between two walls of snow through which people walked. The barista said it took her two hours just to shovel out of her driveway so she could get to work. That day, she was only one of a few that even tried.
It was the morning of Dec. 27, 2010, the day after more than two feet of snow fell on Red Bank and most of county, shutting down back roads and major thoroughfares alike for days it seemed.
It was the day Red Bank-Shrewsbury Patch went live.
It’s been a memorable first year for us. We’ve been a source of daily and, more importantly, local news every single one of our first 365, never taking a day off or missing a big event. We covered that snowstorm – and the next one just a month later – with articles, countless updates, photos, and videos. We’ve covered local government and development almost obsessively. We’ve rushed out to every fire and every accident we’ve heard of looking for the story and the shot. We’ve made public schools, long forgotten, part of our regular coverage. We’ve tried our hardest to make sure every good deed committed in the community gets noticed.
We’ve tried, whenever the opportunity presents itself, to be there.
I’d like to think that we’ve done our best to document and cover the entire community, not just Broad Street, but everything Red Bank and Shrewsbury. What I hope is that Patch has become a source of local news that’s at all the same time equal parts honest, fair, and accurate.
A year into this thing and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has made visiting Patch a regular occurrence. The only validation a reporter has is his readers.
In the past year I’ve come to identify with Red Bank. It has become my home. When I got married in May it became my wife’s home, too. I still remember the first time I drove into Red Bank and through its downtown, turning right on Front Street, driving past Marine Park, circling the White Street parking lot and cruising down Monmouth Street at 15 miles per hour. Like memories of a childhood jungle gym as a mountain, this borough just seems bigger than it really is. Even now, often while I’m taking one of my frequent walks through Red Bank’s various neighborhoods and business districts, many times being lead around by my dog, I can’t help but marvel at the density of diversity crammed into this plot of land little more than a mile and a half square.
In many ways, Red Bank reminds me of where I was born, where I grew up, and where I spent several years writing articles for my former newspaper. Millville is a town in Cumberland County that aspires to be like Red Bank. To go along with its historic downtown and theater renovation project, it’s got neighborhoods troubled by gangs and unscrupulous landlords. It’s got million dollar homes with lake views and a school district so poor that it qualifies for Abbott funding.
What Millville lacks, however, is enough people working together to ensure that their city becomes a better place to live for all. This is where Red Bank differs and where it thrives. Even with its relative struggles, Red Bank has a great sense of community.
Another part of what makes Red Bank great is its local media. While many Patch destinations receive little to no coverage from local or even regional news outlets, it’s a common occurrence to see as many as five staff reporters, quite good ones at that, at any given Red Bank council meeting. Red Bank even gets mentioned occasionally in an advertising flier distributed at super markets. The competition has made the quality of content that much better and the quantity that much larger for a local population reaping all of the benefits. Of course, the attention is well deserved. In my first year I’ve found that Red Bank is an excellent place to live.
Once again, thank you to everyone for making Patch a part of your lives. Here’s to many more years.