Cape May County Officials Balk At Service Area Named For Bruce Willis

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Officials in Cape May County are pushing back against plans to name a Garden State Parkway rest stop after famous actor Bruce Willis. The county's Board of Commissioners has written to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, suggesting that the rest stop should instead be named after a local veteran or community leader.

Bruce Willis, known for his roles in blockbuster movies like 'Die Hard' and 'Pulp Fiction', has connections to New Jersey. He graduated from Penns Grove High School and later attended Montclair State University. However, some local officials question whether these ties are strong enough to merit naming a rest stop after him.

"I don’t know what he’s done for Cape May County to have a rest area named after him," said Len Desiderio, director of the Cape May County Board of Commissioners to the Press of Atlantic City. Instead, Desiderio proposed naming the rest stop after Civil War veteran Andrew J. Tomlin, a local hero who later served as Cape May County sheriff.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has been renaming service areas along the parkway after members of the New Jersey Hall of Fame since July 2021. The Ocean View service plaza, the southernmost stop on the parkway, was originally intended to be named after the late novelist Toni Morrison. However, the Hall of Fame did not get written permission from the author’s estate, and the stop was never formally renamed. In February, the authority agreed to name the stop for Willis instead.

The decision to name the rest stop after Willis has been met with mixed reactions. While some support the move, others, like Desiderio, believe the honor should go to a local hero. The rest stop could be renamed as early as next month.

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