W-B Council Removes Resolution To Rename Local Sports Complex After Murder Victim

May 8, 2019

WILKES-BARRE — City council on Tuesday removed from its Thursday meeting agenda a resolution to rename a sports complex after a murder victim who spent several years coaching there and later watching his grandchildren play soccer there.

The resolution, if successfully passed, would have authorized changing the name of the Gordon Avenue Soccer Complex to the Fred J. Boote Memorial Field.

Boote, 58, of the Riverside Park section of South Wilkes-Barre, was stabbed to death in his Donald Court home on Sept. 14 last year. Two suspects await trial in the case.

Boote’s son, Bryan, who was accompanied by his brother Dan and sister Brittany, told council during a presentation at Tuesday’s work session that the incident was a traumatic loss to his family, but also “a significant loss to the community as a whole.”

“My dad cherished the neighborhood and was a positive influence on the hundreds of families he befriended within the community,” he said.

From 1994 to 2001, Boote said, his father was “very active in youth sports” and coached at the complex. Most recently, he visited the fields with his two dogs every Saturday to watch his grandchildren and other children play there.

The family would like to see the field used “to commemorate him in a positive way so his legacy can be celebrated by our friends and neighbors,” Boote said.

The family pledged an up-front donation of $2,500 in aid and resources to the complex and another $500 for the next five years in conjunction with the Fred and Erin Boote Scholarship for the Arts.

Council Chairman Mike Belusko said council previously discussed adopting policies, procedures and criteria for considering such requests. He asked Councilman Bill Barrett about his research on the topic.

Barrett said many municipalities have such policies and procedures in place and recommended council write its own related ordinance, but he said he wasn’t recommending that council not approve the current request.

Councilman Mike Merritt, however, said he thought it might be prudent to postpone decisions on any memorial requests until after council has adopted a formal policy.

City Clerk Jim Ryan asked if any council members objected to removing the resolution from the agenda, and none did.

Bryan Boote said he and his siblings understand council’s concerns, “but it’s something we want to get adopted as soon as possible. We think council should be 100% in support of this.”

Grant seekers

promise 60 jobs

A resolution that remains on Thursday’s agenda seeks authorization to apply for a $718,000 state grant to remediate contamination from the former Shapiro Steel site at 610-618 S. Main St., across from AutoZone, to facilitate an economic development project there.

Representing property owner South Main Plaza Associates and its principal, developer Marvin Slomowitz, engineer George Albert said Geisinger wants to construct an adult daycare facility on the site, which would bringing 60 new jobs such as doctors, nurses and support staff.

Mayor Tony George pointed out that Geisinger would lease the property from SMP Associates, so the site would remain on the tax rolls.

Contact the writer:

smocarsky@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2110, @MocarskyCV