By John Burton
RED BANK – Borough officials hope to convince Monmouth County officials to pay for work to convert an informal trail near the borough’s primary school to a formal paved one.
During Wednesday evening’s meeting, the borough council authorized borough engineer Christine Ballard to submit an application for a Community Development Block Grant to pave and clear a trail in the wooded area at the western end of Locust Avenue that students have long used as a shortcut to the district’s primary school at 222 River St.
The dirt trail, which is approximately 700 feet set back and overlooks the Swimming River, gets muddy during inclement weather, Ballard said.
The plan for what is now being called the Red Bank Primary School Access Path calls for the area to be cleaned and a porous blacktop be installed over the dirt, according to Ballard.
“The pathway is used on a daily basis” by students and parents, Ballard said. The proposal is “something the police and fire department are in favor of” as a secondary emergency route to the school. The plan also is supported by the board of education, she added.
This is “something talked about for the better part of many years,” but the borough lacked the money to do it, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.
Ballard has been authorized to ask county officials for $200,000 to cover the cost of the project through the competitive grant application that the borough is eligible to apply for every other year. The application. has to be submitted by Friday and freeholders are expected to announce the recipients in September, according to Ballard.
Menna said he planned to encourage the freeholders to support the project.
The Community Development Block Grants are administered on the county level with federal funds.