Making the Case For Red Bank Central Park
And Against Selling the People’s Land for Private Development
Red Bank needs a big, fun, diverse central park to help our community feel like a community.
Tiny parks are beneficial, but cannot perform the city-wide functions of a large, diverse commons. Single-use parks, such as ball fields and the pool, are important as well but only appeal to a tiny portion of the people for a small part of the year. Undevelopable, inaccessible green space has myriad values for water quality, wildlife habitat, wilderness-type recreation and scenery, but doesn’t convene or enliven the community.
A 12-acre, 1st-class Red Bank Central Park can become our own internal destination, drawing citizens year-round, providing a reliable and sustainable customer base that in turn becomes the anchor that justifies a revitalization of existing downtown commercial properties.
The last thing Red Bank needs is more high-density housing, more asphalt, or more unoccupied retail space. Developing the people’s Red Bank Central Park with such private “features” will increase stormwater runoff into Stringer’s Branch, further swamp our already-overwhelmed sewer system, add more overpriced housing, and create more surplus retail space. The developer would benefit handsomely, but Red Bank’s last opportunity for a 1st-class destination commons would be eliminated.
Further, the proliferation of new developments offering houses for rent, not for sale -- such as Julia's Park and Hartman Hills -- is a harbinger of future Red Bank developments. If the Red Bank Board of Commissioners were to vote to sell the people’s land at 3715 Dayton Boulevard to a developer based on grandiose promises, we now know that the City has little power to stop the high-priced, high-density rentals with little public benefit.
A solid, stable sense of community is more easily built on an appealing public commons than on rental housing.