By John Burton
RED BANK — In a reversal of a decision made late last year, the Borough Council agreed last week to allow a charitable fundraising run in the borough this spring.
The council last Wednesday conditionally agreed to permit the Race for Haiti’s Children 5K-run organized in part by Tower Hill-First Presbyterian Church, 255 Harding Road.
The council’s approval was based upon a recommendation by the borough’s special events committee, which approved it with some conditions attached.
This was a complete turnaround from a decision made by the committee and council back in early December when it denied the request to hold what would have been the second such run to raise money for Haiti relief aid.
Mayor Pasquale Menna and Council President Arthur V. Murphy III said at that time the committee’s denial was based upon the impact the event would have on residents and businesses.
The officials referred to a memo written by borough Police Chief Stephen McCarthy, who is a member of the special events committee. While noting it was for a worthwhile cause, McCarthy said it would likely inconvenience locals who face the same obstacles of closed streets and redirected traffic from the longstanding annual George Sheehan Run. “These types of events generate a great amount of displeasure and complaints from business owners and residents,” the memo stated.
Adam Beacher, a Rumson resident who helps organize the event, said organizers asked the committee what could be done to change its mind. In response, Beacher said last week, organizers acknowledged their route was quite similar to the Sheehan run and worked with McCarthy to determine a route that would be less disruptive. “We changed the course completely,” Beacher said last Thursday.
This new plan doesn’t’ require the complete closing of any of the streets along the route and runners would wind up at Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver, using that as part of the course, according to Beacher.
“It works out really well for us,” Beacher said, as the route would be safer this way.
“We do have to have concerns over how it impacts the business district as well as the residential areas,” McCarthy explained. But now with the changed routes and other stipulations, “They conditionally satisfied all of our requirements,” McCarthy added.
Little Silver police this week have signed off on the event and organizers now have to submit the appropriate paperwork, for such things as proof of insurance, to move forward, Beacher said.
The run is slated for April 21 and Beacher said organizers hope to have up to 500 runners participating. Last year’s event had about 315, and 40 volunteers. It raised approximately $18,000 that went to such organizations as Aslan Youth Ministries, here in Red Bank, and Anita’s Children, doing humanitarian work in Haiti, according to Beacher.