UNION, NJ – A second community meeting will take place Wednesday night, March 22, to continue the discussion on proposed plans for the Kennedy Reservation. The follow up meeting will be held at the Union Senior Center, 768 Bonnel Court, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Last week, about 125 residents attended the first community meeting and voiced their opposition to the project.
At that meeting, Mayor Suzette Cavadas said, “this has not been voted on. We want to hear your concerns.”
The project was described as a joint effort between the County of Union and the Township of Union. The County owns a 5-acre parcel located on Green Lane and the Township owns the other 40 acres. The plan for the County portion of 5 acres will include playground equipment, two separate play areas for different aged children, restroom facilities, picnic facilities and a parking lot.
The plan for the Township’s portion of the park, known as the Kennedy Reservation, consists of 40 acres for two sections: six-foot wide walking paths throughout the park to “provide recreational opportunities” and a future dog park.
At the first community meeting concerns from residents included whether the deed allows for such a change to the property, increased traffic and increased trash and incidents involving Kean students and others using the reservation.
“That property was deeded to the Township back in the early 60s,” said one Union resident, “by the grandmother of the Kean’s with the stipulation that the property has to remain in its current condition for 100 years. This is year 50.”
“We will look into that,” said Township Attorney Daniel Antonelli. Antonelli said the County has been spearheading the project. “Now that this has been brought to my attention,” he said, “I will look into it.”
Another resident voiced her concern about Kean students using the property and leaving behind garbage, including drugs and alcohol. Discussion about the dog park was met with opposition as well. “We don’t need any more traffic on our street,” said one resident.
Residents complained of people in the reservation using drugs, setting fireworks and leaving trash within the reservation.
“The origin of this was to try to create something better for the community,” said Township Business Administrator Ron Manzella. “Nothing will happen until we meet again.”