NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> Bill Krusen will be the first borough resident memorialized with a street sign topper.
At its August 10 meeting, borough council unanimously approved an application submitted by resident John Burke requesting the sign, which will read “Bill Krusen Way” and sit atop the street sign at Lafayette and South Norwood, near where Krusen lived with his wife, Diane.
The approval comes less than a week after Council adopted a new policy for the placement of memorial street sign toppers in the borough.
The borough began working on the policy this past spring after Burke requested permission to install a sign topper honoring the memory of Krusen who passed away in February at the age of 97.
“I got the idea last fall after sitting on the porch and listening to Bill,” said Burke. “And I thought it would be a great idea, not just for Bill but anyone in the community who had a life like Bill’s. When you sat with Bill it was like being with the historic society. He was just a well rounded, nice human being.”
Under the new policy, which sets out specific criteria for the signage and spells out the permitting process, applicants can nominate a deceased resident to honor with a memorial street sign topper.
According to the policy, only one memorial will be permitted per intersection; the sign toppers should be attached to borough poles above existing street name signage only; sign toppers should be two sided; nothing in the policy or associated with sign toppers shall cause or result in the renaming of any streets; the names should not duplicate any existing names; no sign toppers will be permitted on Washington, State, Jefferson and Lincoln; and no one candidate can receive more than one sign topper.
The policy also sets forth the qualifications of the candidate, requiring that they be deceased and have a “distinguished record” of “significant and notable long lasting impactful service” to Newtown Borough and/or the surrounding community, the determination of which will be left to the soul discretion of borough council.
In addition, the candidate must have been a longtime borough resident; if the candidate is a war time veteran the service may be considered positively toward approval, but is not a necessary criterion; and the candidate must be a person and may not be a class, a group of people, an event, place, organization, ideology or commercial interest.
The policy also sets forth design standards, including appearance, location on the pole and measurements of the sign.
To secure a permit, applicants need to submit an application to the borough; notify each address on the street with a letter of intent for the placement of a sign topper; and agree to assume all costs associated with the sign topper, including installation, maintenance. repair and/or replacement.
According to the policy, if maintenance is required the applicant would be contacted by the borough and would have 60 days to make the necessary repairs or replacement. And in the event the applicant is unavailable, unwilling or otherwise fails to provide maintenance or replacement, the sign toppers would be removed.
And final approval of the sign topper design and placement must be specified by resolution of the borough council.
Burke thanked the council for adopting the the policy and approving his application.
“I really appreciate you doing this. I know Diane Krusen thanks you as well,“ said Burke.
According to Burke, Krusen spent his entire life in the borough, graduating elementary and high school at the Chancellor Center
Commissioned as a naval aviator in World War II, he was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Commander after four years of service.
Krusen was an 81 year member of the Newtown Presbyterian Church serving as an officer for many years; an 81 year member of the Knights of Pythias; a
61 year member of the Masonic Lodge No. 427 F&AM; a 73 year member of the Newtown American Legion Post 440; and was a Charter Member of the Newtown Ambulance Squad, originally the American Legion Ambulance Squad.
Since 1986, he also was actively involved as a volunteer in the radiology department at St. Mary Medical Center giving more than 37,000 hours.
“He loved this community and he is missed,” said Burke. “He had a presence on Lafayette Street that was unmatched. This is a nice, simply way to remember Bill and to say thank you to him and to his wife, Diane.”