Roselle Park’s governing body has discussed through workshop sessions in numerous municipal meetings two changes to Michael Mauri Park. Also known as Gazebo Park, the landmark located at the corner of East Grant Avenue and Chestnut Street is being proposed to make it into a non-smoking area and have six sponsorship benches added. The four existing benches will be replaced by ones similar to those located in front of the Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library that have names engraved into them. Michael Mauri Park was dedicated on March 22, 1994, and this year – to celebrate its 25th anniversary – the governing body wanted to give it a facelift.
The four benches currently in the park are being considered to be removed and replaced with sponsorship benches. These would be made from composite material and members of the public would have the opportunity to pay in order to have a name or organization engraved into the back resting slats. The cost for the benches was estimated at between $800 – $900. It is not known if that amount will include the concrete slab underneath each of the two new benches or where they will be placed.
The discussion among members of the governing body included whether to keep the engravings or have plaques on the slats and whether to have benches available on a first-come-first-serve or picked through a lottery system. Fifth Ward Councilman Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley stated he preferred plaques over engravings. As for the purchase, the consensus
Third Ward Councilman William Fahoury asked if political organizations could be prohibited from purchasing benches. Borough Attorney Richard Huxford said he would look into it and give a legal opinion at the next meeting.
The second proposed change is to make the public park into a non-smoking area. Mayor Hokanson, in his second proposal for Michael Mauri, proposes to prohibit smoking just like the Roselle Park School District currently does in all its fields and play areas.
“It’s just disgusting,” said Mayor Hokanson at the April 6th meeting, “And I learned from Councilwoman [Charlene] Storey that the filters, they don’t break down.”
Research will be conducted to see what would need to be done to apply the restriction. There was some additional discussion to see if the prohibition could be expanded to include all public areas in the borough.
Resolution 125-17, which was approved later during that same April 6th meeting, awarded $5,000 to have Neglia Engineering perform surveying and design engineering services improvements to the park. It is not known if that contract will go towards either of these proposed changes since no detailed information was provided to the public about that resolution.