DEAL – A park on Roseld Avenue in Deal will be named in honor of Mayor Harry I. Franco, who died last year at age 79.
Borough Administrator James Rogers said improving the park, near the NJ Transit railroad tracks, has been on the table for years.
The borough plans to match up to $150,000 in state Open Space grant funding to now improve the park.
“I believe the mayor would be very happy to see the park, which has been discussed for many years, to finally be completed and dedicated in his name,” Rogers said.
The park will be expanded and include playground equipment, a seating area or adults, and a basketball/all-purpose court.
Rogers said park improvements have been delayed due to Superstorm Sandy but added he expects it be dedicated later this year.
“We have been pushing to renovate the park and it is a perfect place to memorialize Mayor Franco,” he said.
Also, Sen. Jennifer Beck presented the Franco family with a special proclamation from the State Legislature honoring Franco’s years of service at a meeting last week.
Franco served the people of Deal for nearly 34 years- as a Commissioner for 16 years and as Mayor for almost 18 years. He oversaw the expansion and improvements to Borough Hall; many improvements to the beach facilities, including the Deal Casino; and many road improvements and shared-service agreements with neighboring municipalities.
“Mayor Franco will be missed by all. He was a notable figure in Deal and throughout the county. He worked hard to find innovative ways to improve his town and make it a great place to live. Mayor Franco was a tieless advocate for the needs of his community and always put the interests of his residents first,” Beck said.
Beck said Franco had a “stellar reputation” in the county and always upheld the highest professional standards.