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CNBNEWS ARCHIVES: Renaming Streets in Memory of City’s War Heroes’ A Hardship; Not For Me

 REPRINTED: Posted July 2007

CNBNews Point of View:

(Hardship: noun, adversity, misfortune, suffering, burden, affliction)

By William E. Cleary Sr. 

6a00d8341bf7d953ef019104abd6af970c-200wiThe proposal to rename some streets in Gloucester City in memory of citizens who have died fighting for our country has started quite a controversy I have been told.  An article about the renaming streets in honor of City heroes appeared in last Thursday's Gloucester City News.  Soon after the phones started to ring in the Municipal Building from people who opposed the idea.

The article mentioned that the Mayor's Advisory Committee was conducting a feasibility study. "Nothing will be done until the study is completed. The public will be informed of the outcome before any streets are renamed," said Ted Howarth a member of the committee. He added the committe welcomes the public input both pro and con.

Those who complained said if their street is renamed it would create a hardship to have to change their driver's license and other documents. I can understand their concerns.  After all the news release that came from the Advisory Committee said the public would only have several months to make any necessary address changes.  Howarth said that part of the release should have said four years instead several months.



I recommend we all take a moment to think about the suggestion before getting upset. Some thought should be given to the "Hardship" that the honorees and their families had to endure. All we are being asked to do is change the address on a couple of documents.  The soldiers gave their lives for us to live in the greatest Nation in the world.  And we are complaining about it being a "Hardship" to fill out a form to change our address on our license or other documents.

I really don't believe any of us would mind that little inconvenience if we took a moment to put ourselves in the shoes of the mother or father who lost a son fighting for our country.

Let's give the committee sometime to study the proposal before jumping to conclusions.  Myself I would love to see the name of my street changed to Hamacher Road.  I knew Billy Hamacher personality, who died during the Vietnam War. He was a great guy.  I also knew the other Vietnam soldiers from our City who died on a first name basis. If Hamacher Road is taken I would have no problem if my street was changed to one of the other names.

And finally I urged our Mayor and Council members not to buckle under just because they are receiving a little flack on what I believe is a great idea.

What is your opinion?


Comments/PUBLISHED JULY 2007




Joe Falcey said...


I no longer live in the city, but I have family that does, in fact my mom still lives 5 houses away from where Billy Hamacher grew up. Billy was my childhood buddy. He lived next door to my grandparents and just down the street from me. I spent hours with Billy, in his parents house playing table top ice hockey, or exploring the "deserts" beind the old Charles Street stadium, or going to the Gloucester Pool on King Street. So, for me this is very personal (just as the loss of Billy was personal). Whenever I pass a park or ball field or public building named for some politician no one knew it pisses me off. I always wonder why this is done with out we citizens having a say! Well Bill, this is a great way for the citizens of Gloucester to honor fallen family and friends whether it be Billy Hamacher or Paul Flaherty or Marc Ryan or any others whose names I do not remember. I believe the citizens of Gloucester City should demand the renaming of certain streets in their honor. Keep pushing it Bill and thanks! Joe Falcey, GHS class of 1969


 July 30, 2007 at 10:58 AM




Paula Conroy said...


Bill, I agree with Tom Gurick, that renaming existing streets, especially ones of historic significance, will have a negative impact on the residents. Yes, I live on one of the streets, so I am thinking of what I and my neighbors and relatives will have to deal with if this happens. But again, as Tom and I both said at the July City Council meeting, why not name the new streets either in Meadowbrook or the Gloucester Point project for our fallen heroes? (There are quite a few houses at Meadowbrook posted for sale online today with the address as "New Street" or "Unnamed Street"). This way it would be a positive project for all concerned, and not cause any expense or inconvenience to the residents. No, these would be nothing in comparison to what these brave individuals went through, and no one would even dare to compare them. But why cause problems for hard-working citizens, when there is an easy alternative? I also recommend naming the streets in an honorary fashion, such as Philadelphia has done to many streets. It would involve simply placing a smaller, patriotic name sign under the original street sign. This would show honor to those who gave their lives for our freedom, but the streets would still legal retain their original names, many which go back to 1844, when the Washington Mill and the Mill Houses were built. Why mess with Gloucester's History when we have brand new developments with streets that need names anyway?




July 31, 2007 at 06:02 PM


 Tom Gurick said...


What I cherish most about good friends, is that we can occasionally disagree. On the subject of renaming upwards of about a dozen streets in Gloucester...It is my opinion that it is not the best way to honor to our fallen Veterans. Yes, both you and I and just about everyone for that matter has lost a friend or family member to the perils of war. But causing undue stress and hardship to one group of people in order to honor another doesn't seem to be quite appropriate. It doesn't seem to be the American way of doing things.


In renaming all those streets (100 block to 900 block) it will have an exponentially negative dynamic effect on literally thousands of residents. Many of them are veterans themselves on fixed incomes in the twilight of their years who are ill-equipped to deal with the upheaval that this will cause.


Please, view this in it's proper perspective. It is NOT just a matter of popping a change of address card in the mail, or stopping by the motor vehicle office for a new licence. It is a complete and radical change of all official documents that these residents will have to deal with. It is everything from prescription records, tax and zoning maps, voter registration, pass ports, school district records, utility and credit card bills, 911 & emergency management systems, medical records, tax refunds & social assistance records. What about deeding and land issues? Just a simple property search now will become a costly and bureaucratic nightmare. There are many seniors who would suffer greatly as a result of this proposition.


Here's an example: Have you ever lost your wallet? Think of all the trouble that caused just to replace the few things that you had tucked away in there. Now, multiply those "little" inconveniences out by about twenty, then times that by the thousands of residents that this will effect. It can be staggering!


Mayor James is to be commended for his desire to listen to new ideas. He has formed a "Mayor's advisory board" to investigate this matter. I feel that it is incumbent upon this advisory board to not merely report their findings to the public, but to INCLUDE the public in their process. This could be done through a series of "Town Meetings". To it's credit, this administration has proven itself to be willing to listen, a town meeting is just the type of forum to allow them to do this.


Also, maybe some thought should be given to my proposal that would require developers to name any NEW streets after our fallen veterans. We could also consider the proposal of a dignified "ceremonial" renaming of existing streets with distinguishing street signs.


It is my desire and probably the desire of many vets ,that in our zeal and efforts to afford them their just dignity and honor that they not become mired and besmirched in a controversial issue such as this. Thank you & keep up the good work.


Tom Gurick
Former Freeholder
Gloucester City


 July 31, 2007 at 08:41 PM




Rick Gonzales said...


I knew and associated with Harry (Jerry) Brannon. He married one of my classmates. My family and his Mom and Dad ate dinner together two nights a week for several years after Jerry died. I still speak of him. Although his mom and dad are gone I and the rest of his family and friends would like to see him memorialized.


I do however differ with this method for two reasons which I would like to list and explain. First is the loss of a piece of our New Jersey history. Second is the oversimplification of the change of address process.


First explanation; Gloucester City is one of the few cities that had the wisdom to name its streets after the counties of this state. It helped me as a student in the public school system and also the out of town kids attending the parochial school even more.
The county street names would be highest on my personal list to save because they have the most common relevance to all residents of this city.


Second explanation; Gloucester City, with all its resources can't do itself, what it appears it wants the common citizen to do.
As the Head of Construction at the new refrigerated warehouse at 890 Grove Street I pointed out to the city administrator that the city records were wrong and needed to be corrected with respect to 890 Grove St. After 15 months and numerous requests the city still chooses to refer to 890 Grove St. as 890 Charles St. because it is too cumbersome to change all its records to reflect the correct address. City employees now know the error exists since I have pointed it out and deal with the problem by mentally transposing Grove and Charles. So what's the problem? Answer,LIABILITY.


The 911 SYSTEM has repeatedly informed me that it has no addresses listed for Grove St. in Gloucester City so it automatically transfers emergency calls to Gloucester County, Gloucester Township and/or other towns with listings of Grove St. therefore removing themselves from the liability chain because they attempted to forward the emergency request. The alarm company calls me to tell me the police have been notified but most often they do not come because the county communication system notifies Gloucester Township because its has no Grove St. listed for Gloucester City.


I have explained the situation repeatedly to 911 Supervision. They believe me when I say 890 Grove St. in Gloucester City needs to be added to the 911 System but will not do so until they receive official notification from our city administrator. If such a task can't be accomplished by more than a million dollars in salaries and a multiple level workforce how can we expect residents with limited resources, knowledge, skills and abilities to accomplish such tasks.


Think about this. Who should be held liable if a forklift were to fall off the loading dock and the driver becomes pinned under the machine? The situtation could be one of life or death. The request for emergency assistance is sent to the wrong town and the driver is your brother or father.


Would you like to hear the long version of what my next door neighbor is still going through since the city notified him that they changed his address in the city records and he must take appropriate steps to update his records. Or would it suffice to say he is still working on it and he is not happy about it because it has been THREE YEARS since his notification.


Since we have a planned expansion of the city, dedicate those street names to this worthy cause. It has been said "If it ain't broke don't fix it".


Rick Gonzales




July 31, 2007 at 08:58 PM












August 01, 2007 at 07:25 AM


 Barbara said...


I am no longer a resident of Gloucester City but had lived there for 52 years until I moved a few years ago. Although I am no longer a resident I still work in town in a doctor's office. The Doctor and I had this very discussion a few days ago. All of our records in the office and in the computer would have to be changed for the patients who live on those streets. It would be a nightmare to accomplish that with the small staff that we have and we are only one small business in town. Imagine how many other businesses would have the same problem because of the name change. I am for honoring the fallen men and women by naming the new streets being built for them!




August 01, 2007 at 05:26 PM





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