Councilman drops bid to rename sports complex for Mondello

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LEVITTOWN -

A Hempstead town councilman is dropping a proposal to rename a sports complex that honors a war hero after a longtime county GOP official.

MacLaren Field in Levittown is named for World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient Ernest MacLaren.

Hempstead Town Councilman Dennis Dunne put forth a proposal to name the sports complex after longtime Nassau Republican Party Chairman Joe Mondello, who was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.

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Andrew Booth, who has lived in Levittown for over 40 years, says his kids played at the MacLaren Field. Its name is a fitting tribute to the late veteran, says Booth, who is a Marine Corps veteran himself.

"It's a disgrace that this even came up," says Booth.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen agrees. She says the proposal would risk diminishing MacLaren's legacy.

When News 12 reached out to Councilman Dunne about his proposal, he sent a written statement saying he would pull it.

Dunne wrote, "Honoring the defenders of our nation's freedom is something about which I feel strongly. I also would never wish to diminish the legacy of a brave veteran, such as Ernest MacLaren, for whom a Levittown recreation facility has been named. What's more, Ambassador Mondello has indicated that he does not wish to have a portion of the facility named in his honor."

Booth says he believes Mondello should be honored for his work as a former Hempstead town supervisor and councilman from Levittown -- just not at MacLaren Field.              

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