PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. – By unanimous vote, Phillipsburg Town Council on Tuesday night passed the first reading of an ordinance to rename a park for a resident who lost his battle with addiction last year after inspiring many as a coach, mentor and friend.
The ordinance would rename Mercer Street Park as Jesse Delgado Recovery Park to honor the life lost, raise awareness of the stigmas associated with addiction and call attention to a disease that can affect people from all walks of life.
Initiated by council Vice President Robert Fulper, the ordinance states that Delgado "fought courageously the demons of addiction, having experienced periods of recovery, followed by periods of active use, a pattern which is so common to those afflicted with the disease."
Delgado died on July 7, 2020.
At council's meeting this past July 20, Fulper gave a heartfelt tribute to Delgado, who grew up on Mercer Street and was a welcome, familiar face to children playing in the park. He said the town had an opportunity to honor his legacy and raise awareness about the costs of addiction.
Delgado, who helped others with addiction, was an example of how the disease can strike anyone, regardless of their position in life, Fulper said. "He was somebody in this town."
Council will likely pass the second and final reading of the ordinance at its next meeting.