The cell phone’s rings didn’t affect Delaware police Chaplain Jeff Slider during his remarks about the late Joe DiGenova at City Council’s Monday meeting.
Typically, faith leaders face Council when giving the invocation, but Slider stood facing the audience. To his left was the late councilman’s seat covered with a black drape and placed in front was a vase decorated with a rose, two U.S. flags and ribbons of red, white and blue to honor the Vietnam War veteran.
“This is a special and very difficult Council,” Slider said. “Because it is a Council that is not in full attendance.”
DiGenova died on March 19 less than a week after resigning from representing the 3rd Ward on Council, a position he had since September 2006. But he served Council on and off again for a cumulative total of more than 25 years.
He was 71.
“With Joe, his joy is full. It is complete. He was a man of great faith,” Slider said. “And for this city and this county. The joy in Joe is that he still lives on here. His projects, his care, his concern, his love for this city and this county will not stop just because his breath may have. It will continue on.”
During these remarks, a phone started to ring, but an unfazed Slider finished with a prayer.
“And Father, I would ask you that you give them a sense of Joe’s presence here too,” he said.
Council approved the renaming of Veterans Drive to DiGenova Way to honor its colleague. Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said she talked to DiGenova about it the Thursday before he died.
“He told me he would be honored,” she said.
Located off of Houk Road, Veterans Drive provides access to the Delaware Community Center YMCA, where Veterans Memorial Plaza is located. DiGenova spearheaded the project to recognize the efforts of veterans from all American wars. The memorial was dedicated last year.
“I think it would be another great way to remember Joe. He was a veteran. Veterans Plaza was near and dear to his heart. It wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for him,” Riggle said.
“If I say any more, I’ll cry.”
The name change is contingent upon approval from the state because it’s an abutting property owner in that area.
“Joe’s family are so honored that this change is being considered,” Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker said in an email to Ron Sabatino, another property owner, who gave his OK for the name change.
The change could be in effect on Memorial Day.
In other business, Council:
• Approved the changes to the user fee at the Hidden Valley Golf Course. The rates would increase adult and senior rates by 50 cents during the weekdays. Students, ages 13 to 22, can play for $7, while students, ages 12 and under, can play for $5 during the weekdays. Weekend rates would be a dollar more than weekday rates of each category. Also, riding carts would be $6 for nine holes and $9 for 18 holes.
• Approved the authorization to re-issue one-year bond anticipation notes related to the Glenn Road New Community Authority financing at $10,565,000 and the city’s sidewalk maintenance program at $450,000. The notes have been re-issued each year since originally borrowed in 2005. The 2017 amount represents a reduction in the outstanding principal of $650,000.
The sidewalk notes are being re-issued to facilitate spreading the city cost of the sidewalk improvement program over several years. When the project is complete this year it is estimated that the city will continue to allocate $125,000 per year through 2021 in its capital improvement plan to pay off the outstanding notes.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.