Crecco Plaza arch in doubt

An artist’s rendering of the proposed arch at the Crecco Plaza on the Broad Street side of the Bloomfield Public Library.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The construction of the proposed memorial arch in Crecco Plaza appears unlikely to happen, according to the former treasurer of the foundation that would pay for the arch. Also dubious of the original plan being realized is the daughter of John Crecco, the former Bloomfield councilman and mayor for whom the the arch would be built. Crecco died April 1 at the age of 96. Crecco Plaza fronts the Bloomfield Public Library.

Michael Napolitano, the former treasurer of the John I. Crecco Foundation, said last week that the foundation did not have enough money remaining in its account to construct the arch. The design of the arch, he said, was provided pro bono. The construction cost was estimated at $75,000. He said the foundation only had $30,000.

“The Crecco family wanted the plaza built in honor of their parents,” Napolitano said. “They wanted something historic for their parents’ service to the town and the country. It’s against the family’s nature to do something for themselves.”

Crecco was a much-decorated WWII veteran and his wife, Marion, who died in 2015, was a NJ assemblywoman. The Crecco Foundation for years was a significant benefactor for cardiac care in North Jersey. In Bloomfield, the foundation’s sponsorships included numerous youth sports teams and the annual Bloomfield Junior Olympics.

According to Napolitano, the plans for Crecco Plaza have all the necessary approvals from the Bloomfield Historic District Review Board. Because it is on township-owned property, he said approval by the Planning Board was unnecessary.
He believed Crecco daughter, Ginni Cummings, was trying to find a way to
have the arch built.

In a telephone interview last week, Cummings said the foundation would like to raise the money and complete the project.

“It’s already been voted on,” she said. “But with two sick parents, things kind of came to a halt.”

The foundation raised its money from an annual dinner/dance, Cummings said, but the last “Project Heartbeat Ball” dinner/dance was held in 2014. She said it may be time to go back to the drawing board and scale down the proposal. She prefers not to start over again.

“The foundation still exists,” she said. “But it’s not having a dinner/dance.”
Cummings, who lives in Georgia, said she is considering approaching the township.

“They voted to do it but we had to raise the funds,” she said. “I don’t live up there and I need to get some soldiers. I haven’t spoken to anyone.”
The arch would commemorate Crecco’s WWII naval service when he was awarded nine battle stars. A battle star signifies participation in a battle.

Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, in a telephone interview earlier this week, said there was a proposed memorial for Marion Crecco.

“We haven’t done it yet,” he said. “There were issues getting the Crecco family together. The council will put its heads together and do something special.”

Cummings said recent donations for the foundation have been received because of her father’s death. She also said the foundation website is up and running.

“I think my best bet is going to local businesses,” she said. “The architect did the rendering. Now to go to businesses for the material.”