WATCHUNG, NJ - Saving the "Legend of Watchung" mural has taken on a sense of urgency since the timeline for the closing and demolition of the Sears store on Route 22 has been moved up. The Borough Council approved a plan of attack at the last meeting.
The Sears department store is set to close in September and demolition is expected in October. The Historical Committee has been "living and breathing" the mural for the last few weeks since the time frame changed from having a possible year to find a solution.
The mural was painted in oil on a thin canvas and glued to a masonry wall.
The first steps agreed to are to engage in a feasibility study with a company that said there is a strong likelihood that they can safely remove the mural from the wall. The feasibility study cost is $2,500.
Depending on what they find, the next steps include removal, conservation and reinstallation, which could cost $100,000.
Once the feasibility study is completed and other costs are estimated, fundraising to "Save the Mural" may begin.
In addition, the Borough Council approved $250 to pay a professional photographer to take a high-definition photograph of the mural that will be able to be reproduced in various sizes, including life size which is 16' x 10'.
At a prior meeting, Patrick McNamara, an attorney representing Seritage Growth Properties, said Seritage would be “more than happy” to donate the mural to the Borough of Watchung.