Stanley Ronell retires after 51 years with Port Washington North

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Stanley Ronell retires after 51 years with Port Washington North
Stanley Ronell and Port Washington North Mayor Bob Weitzner pose after a proclamation is issued celebrating Ronell's 51 years with the village. (Courtesy of Palma Torrisi)

Port Washington North has been around for 86 years, having been incorporated in 1932. Stanley Ronell has been there for more than half of them.

The former resident began serving on the village’s Planning Board on Feb. 27, 1967. He  held that position for more than 51 years before retiring from the board in July.

“I wanted to be part of [the village’s] growth in a proactive and rational way, for the ultimate benefit of its residents,” Ronell wrote in an email, explaining why he wanted to get involved with the village government all those decades ago.

Ronell moved to Port Washington in 1964 with his wife, Eileen. They had previously lived in an apartment in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, but Ronell said they wanted a house where they could raise a family. After looking at several communities, they “fell in love” with Port Washington and moved into a home at 6 Dock Lane. There they would remain for 54 years.

The couple now resides across Manhasset Bay in Great Neck.

When the couple first moved to Port Washington North, it had a small population to match its small size. The 1960 U.S. Census lists only 722 residents in the village. A decade later, Port North’s population had ballooned to 2,883.

Ronell wanted a hand in planning the rapidly expanding village.

“I am firm believer and practitioner of the premise that if you want to contribute to the welfare of the community in which you live you just can’t remain on the sidelines, being satisfied [with] letting someone else do the job,” he wrote. “Being a bystander, one becomes part of the problem rather than the solution!”

Among his proudest achievements was the construction of the Bay Walk along Manhasset Bay, particularly that there are no power lines on the western side of Shore Road. Ronell was able to get the Long Island Lighting Co., which owned the power lines at the time, to bury them and preserve the beauty of the Bay Walk.

Mayor Bob Weitzner said that Ronell’s input will be missed.

“He was never short of opinions and he was always speaking his mind,” Weitzner said. “Once you understood that it was always from the heart, you respected it … I found that to be endearing and I always respected his opinion.”

Although Ronell worked on the Planning Board for five decades, Weitzner is just the third mayor he has served with, following Thomas J. Pellegrino (1971-2005) and Joel H. Joseph (1965-71).

For his part, Ronell said that the thing he will miss the most is working with members of the Port Washington North government.

“[I will miss] the dedication and camaraderie of my fellow colleagues on the Planning Board and the village’s administration in general,” he wrote.

But Weitzner thinks that Ronell will stay involved.

“To this day he still throws things at me, letting me know what is going on at the Bay Walk,” he said. “I don’t think he has ever given up on Port Washington North. I feel that he’s still a planning board emeritus and I gladly accept his input.”

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.

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