SCOTCH PLAINS –– A grove on the site of the historical Frazee House will serve as a solemn place to memorialize township residents who died from complications of COVID-19.

The township is planning to plant Kwanzam Cherry trees in memory of residents who the community has lost. The tree was selected because of its deep pink spring blooms that last for weeks, prompting the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. and other events that entice people to routinely visit.

“We could think of no better place than Frazee House Park to create this lasting tribute,” said Mayor Josh Losardo. “It is a passive park at the corner of Raritan and Terrill roads, home to the Scotch Plains Community Garden, a walking path and chessboard top picnic tables. We hope the tree memorial will give residents yet another reason to explore the park.”

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Shadonte’ Solomon suggested the memorial grove to the Recreation Commission. She is looking forward to memorizing her grandmother, Evelyn Solomon, who raised her family of three generations in Scotch Plains for more than 50 years.

“It saddens me that a woman who was looked at by others as a motherly figure was unable to have a funeral filled with loved ones,” Solomon said. “As the year anniversary of her passing approaches, we still are unable to come together to give her a proper memorial. This COVID-19 memorial will be near and dear to my heart because my family will be able to get some peace and closure as well as extend our condolences to other families.”

A dedication is being planned later this year.

“It is so important that we continue to mourn and memorialize the lives lost due to COVID-19,” said Deanna Dell-Bene, a member of the Recreation Commission. “I’m appreciative that Shadonte’ came to me with the idea and it is fulfilling to see it come to fruition.  It’s heartwarming to know that the town will have a permanent memorial for our local families. Thank you to everyone involved for making this happen.” 

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