OLD BRIDGE – The Old Bridge Public Library is at the heart of the principles former Mayor Arthur M. Haney instilled in his children, Sean and Carolyn, as they grew up on Margaret Street.
“The library is a place to be inspired, dream incredible dreams and learn how to achieve them,” Sean Haney said. “It is a place to gather as neighbors, a community and as a family, just as Dad would have wanted.”
Family, friends and dignitaries attended the dedication ceremony of the Old Bridge Public Library Building in honor of the former mayor on Sept. 22. Haney passed away on Aug. 14, 2018, at age 70.
The library now is fittingly named after the man who, 25 years ago, envisioned the library would move from “pre-digital world of books” to a “digital world of books and community center.”
The Old Bridge High School Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) posted the colors.
Haney’s daughter Carolyn J. Haney-Kimock sang the National Anthem and a rendition of “Danny Boy” by Glenn Miller. She noted her dad enjoyed his Irish music and before she sang “Danny Boy” she blew a kiss toward his name, which adorns the library building.
Current Mayor Owen Henry welcomed those who came to the ceremony and Library Board President Frank Weber made a few remarks. A music interlude was performed by Alex Yavtuhovich on the violin and Elaine R. Gaber on the piano.
Haney’s family, including his wife Carol, Carolyn and Sean, and four granddaughters, unveiled a plaque which will be hung in the library. The younger Haney said his father dedicated his life to the community for more than 40 years.
“At the time of his passing last year, he was serving as executive director of the OBMUA (Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority) and also chair of the Old Bridge Redevelopment Agency,” he said.
The elder Haney also served as chair of the Old Bridge Republican Party.
“He was most well known for his time as mayor of Old Bridge,” the younger Haney said. “Before that, he served two terms as councilman and afterwards he was elected Middlesex County freeholder. Over more than four decades, he left his fingerprints of dedication and leadership throughout Middlesex County and especially here in Old Bridge.”
Among his many achievements, Haney said the library was important to his father.
“Over 25 years ago, [Arthur Haney] had a vision for a bigger, more vibrant space to meet the needs of the town and for its future,” he said. “Although many shared his vision, not everyone did [at the time].”
However, through a pragmatic approach with a talented and dedicated planning team, the elder Haney’s vision came to life and continues to benefit the community, his son said.
Arthur Haney was instrumental in the opening of the central branch of the Old Bridge Public Library in 1993 when he was mayor. He had attended the 25th anniversary celebration of the library’s central branch in May 2018.
During the anniversary celebration, the elder Haney had said the vision for the building was to make the space as open as possible, which has allowed the library to enter the 21st century without a hitch and to continue to serve the community.
“This library held a special place in his heart,” Sean Haney said. “Although we would have preferred he was with us here today, I know he’s looking upon us on this beautiful day and receiving such a wonderful honor would make him smile.”
Contact Kathy Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org.