Final Ritacco Center Signage Discovered, Removed
Mentions of disgraced superintendent's name scraped from directional signs
You can see the outline of where the letters used to be.
But that's all that remains of the former name of the Pine Belt Arena, which was previously known as the Ritacco Center.
Though the Poland Springs Arena name changed due to a new contract for naming rights, the other name — the Ritacco Center — was dropped shortly after former Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco's indictment for more than $2 million in federal tax evasion and bribery.
The words "Ritacco Center" were covered shortly after the October 2010 indictment, and the main sign remained hidden under white until the district took it down completely on the building in October 2011.
The building, a project under Ritacco and named for him while he was superintendent, is a multi-purpose arena on the Toms River High School North campus that's hosted large scale sporting and entertainment events as well as conventions.
But months after Ritacco's guilty plea, a resident discovered some remnant mentions of the building as the "Ritacco Center" remained around the campus.
Namely, three signs on the back of the property directing drivers to parking lots still said "Ritacco Center."
The resident brought the topic of the remaining signs up at the July Toms River Regional school board meeting, which was held at Toms River High School North. She asked why they still remained and asked they be removed.
Officials responded that they were unaware of the signs and that they too would be removed. The lettering was on signs that also serve as markers for the multiple parking lots at High School North. There are more than three parking lot markers on the campus, but in those three spots the name Ritacco Center was still in use. The words Ritacco Center have already been removed from the building's main sign, as well as secondary signs on doors and on the parking lot markers elsewhere.
The remaining old lettering was removed in the days after the board meeting.
Ritacco's original July sentencing date remains postponed.