Gardeners Plea for One Year
The Red Bank Community Garden Committee is hoping borough council will compromise by allowing them to plant for one year.
When it comes to establishing a longterm garden along the banks of the Navesink River on Red Bank-owned property, borough council just doesn't seem to have any answer other than "no" for community gardeners.
At a recent council meeting, the Red Bank Community Garden Committee again appealed - just as they did a year ago - to develop a garden on a plot of land behind the Red Bank Public Library. The appeal was rejected, though not officially yet, just as it was last time around. This year, however, gardeners are hoping the borough will consider a compromise.
While the council, led by Mayor Pat Menna, have outright rejected the idea of establishing a garden along the Navesink, gardeners are wondering if Red Bank would consider letting them plant on the highly visible and centrally located plot for just one year. The hope is that the garden will draw the attention of residents and local volunteer organizations who would then support it following its forced move after year one.
Kathleen Gasienica, a member of the American Littoral Society's board of trustees, said the community gardeners would leave the site virtually the same as they found it. The importance of the location is more than finding land suitable for growing, she said. Along the Navesink there's more visibility and accessibility for the public, including those living in several nearby high-rises. In her experience, the more visibility a garden has, the more people who get involved and support it.
"We went to be in a more urban setting for the same reason," she said. "We're asking for a little more support for this great spot. Yes, there are alternative spots that would be good, but none are as great as this one location."
The community gardeners inspected nearly 60 plots of land throughout Red Bank last year in hopes of finding a suitable one. None offer the advantages of the library site. As an alternative, garden committee member and regular council foil Cindy Burnham suggested an alternative to the library site, Marine Park.
That alternative was not well received.
"The second site involves Marine Park which we've just spend about two and a half million (restoring)," Menna said. "It's our most-used park."
Menna further added, though prior to Gasienica's compromise, that he thought it unlikely that the council would change its position on the library plot, either, saying that the answer has and will continue to be "no."
The council has objected to the location at 94 Front St., though has failed to provide an actual reason, instead telling the gardeners to pursue other locations. Some feel as though the borough doesn't want to commit to having a garden occupy a valuable piece of waterfront land.
The matter will likely appear on the agenda March 27.