Just across the street, a family-owned gym was struggling. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, even going to the gym was illegal. Victor DeLuca, then serving as mayor of the Essex County town of 26,000, got word that the gym’s future was up in the air.
An empty 6,000-square-foot storefront across from a main community gathering place? That’s exactly the kind of eyesore that DeLuca had tried to avoid in his nearly quarter-century on the Maplewood Township Committee.