A new political party has surfaced in Rockville Centre over the past year, and its candidate for the June mayoral race is a name you've heard before.
Francis Murray, son of longtime mayor Eugene Murray, will challenge incumbent Mary Bossart as the Rockville Centre United Party 's candidate in the June 21 village election. Eugene was Bossart's predecessor as mayor for two decades.
"We came to the conclusion that the current mayor and her supermajority on the board just did not have what it takes to run our village in the way that we're accustomed to living for the past 20 years," Murray said of why he's running.
The Rockville Centre United party was formed in 2010, Murray said, after some residents became increasingly frustrated with the direction of the village. He explained that village roads are deteriorating, services are being cut, athletic fields have fallen into disrepair and the downtown business district is not as clean as it once was.
"I was born here in 1951 and I've never lived anywhere else," he said. "I've watched [the village] grow and seen my father regenerate the whole downtown and make it beautiful. It's not that way now."
Murray said that the business district is the village's lifeline and should be a top priority of the board to ensure its survival. He said charging for parking after 6 p.m. has chased away consumers, and as part of the Chamber of Commerce, has spoken to numerous business owners who share his sentiment. "Eventually, we're going to lose stores," he said if parking restrictions are not eased. "Our slogan will be, 'Come back to RVC, we're friendly again.'"
He underscored his plan to beautify the business district, which would entail breaking the village into sections and businesses would be assigned a sector to spruce up. Businesses could then advertise in their section, he said. Murray added that he'd like to have establishments that are located by village entrance ways — like , South Nassau Communities Hospital and — to also help beautify those areas. "I want it to be gorgeous when you walk into our village," he said. "It won't happen in a day, but it will happen."
Murray added that he is upset with the condition of the village's athletic fields, and that is something he would change if elected mayor. "Our ball fields are deteriorating and disgusting," he said. "I grew up here. I played on these fields. Hickey Field looks like a weed patch." Murray said he has independent contributors who want to replace the sprinkler systems and re-sod the fields, and it wouldn't cost taxpayers any money.
One of his best talents, Murray noted, is his negotiating ability. He'd like to use that talent to restore relationships in the village that he feels have been strained over the past few years. "The relationship with the public schools, Village Hall and the Rockville Centre Fire Department fell apart when Eugene left," he said. "Again, [the village board] has no negotiating ability, but we're going to fix that."
The village election is on June 21 and all voting will be done at the Recreation Center at 111 N. Oceanside Road.