Kennedy Memorial – With Statue – Planned For JFK Retail Plaza

Plans call for the 12 x 73-foot memorial to be placed on the retail center’s property along JFK Boulevard.

Plans to erect an 876-square-foot memorial to Pres. John F. Kennedy at a JFK Boulevard retail center are under review by township planning staff.

The 12 x 73-foot memorial would include a statue of Kennedy walking with his son, two wall displays, benches and a television monitor display.

The statue would be less than 9 feet tall, according to the project’s plans.

The memorial would be placed along the front of the property, fronting JFK Boulevard, according to the plans. The retail center’s name would also be changed to JFK Plaza.

The application is not yet complete, but if it is deemed complete it will be heard by the Planning Board, said Mark Healey, the township’s principal planner.

The plans were submitted by David Rubin, whose company, Two JFK Blvd., owns the plaza property.

Rubin said in an email that the project was brought to him by Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large), who he described as “a friend that is involved in a peace organization.”

“I thought this was a great idea and an honor to be chosen to have the JFK statue with his son on the first property of JFK Blvd.,” he wrote. “I was told the our JFK Blvd was renamed after his assassination and Franklin Township was the first to do so.”

“My family considers it an honor to honor a great President and his son in our great township,” Rubin wrote.

Rubin said Prasad “was a good family friend of my parents” for many years. He said the memorial would also be in memory of his late parents, Elayne and Bernard.

The project will also have to go before the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission because the property falls within 1,000 feet of the Delaware & Raritan Canal.

Prasad proposed a JFK memorial at the time he was pushing for the “Peace and Nonviolence” memorial on the Consolata Mission property. Plans for that memorial died after a public backlash for the way in which Prasad attempted to get it approved.

The peace and JFK memorials were two of four such statue-based memorials being championed by Prasad at the time. Prasad wrote about the four memorials in a Feb. 20, 2018 email to Township Manger Robert Vornlocker and Carl Hauck, head of the township Department of Public Works.

Prasad in that email laid out his plans for the JFK memorial unveiling:

“As for JFK’s memorial, I will try and get Caroline Kennedy to come for it,” he wrote. “We will also try and get Rep. Joe Kennedy III and others from the family like ex-Rep. Patrick Kennedy to come. The Irish Ambassador to the UN invited herself to the event. We will also need to invite the Catholic Clergy as well. We will also try and invite VP Joe Biden.”

“Our local State Leaders and Congressional Delegation,” Prasad continued. “Governor Murphy is a Boston Irishman transplanted to NJ and served with Amb. Caroline Kennedy in the Obama Administration.

“We may want to consider holding the speeches inside St. Mathais (sic), with Father Doug’s blessings,” Prasad wrote. “We could wire in the video feed of the unveiling and then have it in the background while people make speeches honoring JFK.”

Prasad also said in the email that all four memorials would be delivered by the spring of 2018.

Prasad has not responded to a request for comment.

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