Red Bank’s Locust Avenue won’t be legally renamed for the late Daniel J. O’Hern after all.
Instead, under the terms of an ordinance approved by the borough council last night, the street will undergo a ceremonial renaming in honor of the late mayor and state Supreme Court associate justice, who grew up on Locust.
That suits Locust Avenue residents just fine.
One of them, Amy Goldsmith, canvassed her neighbors after Mayor Pasquale Menna proposed a legal name change and came away with a petition with 45 signatures of those opposed.
“Everybody wanted to honor the judge, but felt there were other ways to do it,” Goldsmith said at Monday night’s bimonthly council meeting. “Some residents had known the O’Hern family and played with him as a kid.”
But all were concerned about the impacts of having two names for the street, and the hassles of changing account information, identification cards and other materials.
Mayor Pasquale Menna had previously said residents would be able to choose whether to identify themselves as residents of Locust Avenue or Justice Daniel O’Hern Way, much as those on Drs. James Parker Boulevard can opt to use the older name, West Bergen Place.
Shortly before the council was to vote on the proposed change, Menna said he had changed his mind about making th O’Hern designation a legal one.
“I’ve spoke with representatives of the O’Hern family, and the consensus is that they don’t wish for this effort to do a good thing to be mired in controversy,” Menna said. “It will be a ceremonial change to O’Hern Way.”
Goldsmith said she, too, had heard from a member of the O’Hern family. “They’re wonderful people,” she said.
“I’m very pleased,” she added. “There’s no controversy here.”