A borough councilman has recommended the Public Works Committee consider renaming Lansdale’s Main Street “Mayor Mike DiNunzio Way.”
Jack Hansen brought up the idea to the committee Wednesday night.
“I just want to say, as we all know, Lansdale lost its biggest cheerleader this week, and I want this committee to consider renaming Main Street ‘Mayor Mike DiNunzio Way,’” he said.
Councilman Mike Riccio, chair of the public works committee, said the borough probably could not rename Main Street.
“Can we?” he asked utilities director Jake Ziegler. “It’s not our street.”
Ziegler was not sure what the borough can or cannot do with a state highway.
“I don’t know what legalities there would be or would not be,” Ziegler said.
Hansen mentioned how Main Street is known by various names, including State Route 63 and Welsh Road.
“You have to be very careful about (renaming the road),” Riccio said.
In order to rename a portion of a state highway, borough council would need to seek legislation in support of such from state Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24; state Rep. Bob Godshall, R-53; or Rep. Allyson Schwartz., D-13th Congressional District. Legislation would then need to be approved by the state House and then the state Senate.
“I think we have to honor Mike in one way or another,” said Hansen. “He’s been an icon around here for many years. He devoted almost his entire life to Lansdale and I think it’s just fitting to name something permanent after Mike.”
Hansen said whether it is Main Street, Broad Street or the Wood-Vine Connector, it would be good honor to give it to him.
Hansen said he would not bring the suggestion to council, since he has already brought it through the committee structure.
“I’m going to give (the public works committee) a chance to mull it over. I’m sure Mike (Riccio) will present it to Timi Kirchner, and he’ll probably present it to Matt West. I’ll speak to Matt West about it, and then we can bring it up to council at another time,” he said.
He said he would support it if somebody else suggested something similar.
Council President Matt West announced council would be honoring DiNunzio in two weeks. Mayor Andy Szekely said he would be working toward a public honor for DiNunzio.
The recommendation of renaming a street after DiNunzio harkens back to 2008 when council attempted to rename after DiNunzio.
A motion to rename the park was passed unanimously by the council on April 2, 2008. Riccio was a member of council at the time, as were Rich DiGregorio, Anne Scheuring and Hansen.
Hansen supported the idea to rename the park, proffered by former council president Ben Gross.
“I got on board with it. I wrote a letter to the paper in support of it. The White family got very, very upset about it,” he said. “I had a long talk with several members of the family. I understood their being upset, and Mike DiNunzio himself was the one who asked us to stop. So we stopped.”
Hansen couldn’t speak for DiNunzio’s family, but he thinks they would be happy to have him honored in one way or another. He has not spoken with them since DiNunzio’s passing on Sunday night.
“This is something I’ve been sitting at home thinking about. Mike and I have become very good friends,” Hansen said. “I just believe, after hearing what everyone else has said about him and what he did all of his life, this would be the right way to honor him.”
Do you think Main Street should be renamed after Mike DiNunzio? How do you think he should be honored in Lansdale?