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Residents Look to Rededicate Small Park to Late Professor

Candace Braun

Borough residents appeared before Borough Council last week to ask permission to rename the current Pine Street Park for the late Dr. David F. Bradford, economist at Princeton University. Dr. Bradford, 66, died February 22 after sustaining third degree burns from a fire in his Pine Street residence.

Neighbor William Flemer IV, a resident of Hibben Road, as well as other residents in that same neighborhood, asked that Council change the name of the park to the David Bradford Park, in memory of his presence in the community. Dr. Bradford and his wife, Gundel, were the sustaining force behind the annual Spring Street Block Party in the neighborhood, which has always been held at Pine Street Park, said Mr. Flemer.

"His tragic and untimely death deprived all who knew him of a greatly admired and dearly loved colleague and friend," read Mr. Flemer's letter to Council.

The "tiny Borough park," as described by Mr. Flemer, has a picnic table, water fountain, and "ancient piece of playground equipment that spins," he said. As the owner of a Kingston nursery, Mr. Flemer suggested that after the park's renaming, the neighborhood would start a project to improve its landscaping as a communal effort to remember Dr. Bradford.

Councilman Andrew Koontz, who appealed to the Borough on behalf of Mr. Flemer, said of the park: "It's so small and so modest if you blink while you're driving by you may miss it." He added that while small in size, the park has meaning to its neighbors, which is why Council should consider the neighbors' request.

Peter Westergaard of Pine Street, told Council that Princeton University will be holding a memorial ceremony for Dr. Bradford on May 20, at which time the residents would like to announce the renaming of the park, and the neighborhood effort to re-landscape it.

Formally, Council did not approve the park's name change; but it told the neighbors to draw up a plan, which could include a trust fund for the park, to be managed through the Borough's administrative office.

The neighbors are scheduled to appear again before Borough Council in early May.

An economics and public affairs professor at the University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Dr. Bradford has been a member of the faculty since 1966. During his lifetime he served three U.S. presidents, including being a member of President George H.W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 1991 to 1993. He was also deputy assistant secretary for tax policy in the U.S. Department of Treasury from 1975 to 1976, when he directed an influential study on income tax reform.

Dr. Bradford sustained third-degree burns over much of his body after attempting to remove a burning Christmas tree from his home on February 8. He remained in critical condition at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia until his death.

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