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New Developments About Katyn Monument

By on July 14, 2021

(NEW JERSEY) After a year of caution, we are slowly emerging into the light from the COVID Pandemic. To begin, we wish all our brothers and sisters the very best in good health and fortune in the days ahead. The Committee for the Conservation of the Katyn Monument & Historic Objects (CCKMHO) has not been idle despite Covid concerns and we have pushed ahead with a number of meetings related to the Jersey City Katyn Monument and the surrounding Exchange Place Plaza. As we reported last year our efforts to forge a good working relationship with the Exchange Place Special Improvement District and the Mack-Cali Corporation has paid off. This past week we met with Ms. Elizabeth Cain, Executive Director of the SID and her assistant, Mr. Martin Schmid. Joining us was Mr. Michael DeMarco, President of the SID Board of Directors. We learned a good deal from the meeting and our input was well received.

Among the items discussed was the wording on a new plaque to be placed in front of the entrance to the seating area surrounding the Monument. Mr. DeMarco has agreed to allow the CCKMHO to supply the precise statement. We were also informed that bids for the project will go out in September with the anticipation that the work will be completed by late November if all goes to plan. Importantly, it is noted that the Monument will be protected from construction debris by plywood the entire time.

Mr. DeMarco also spoke about the fact that the Monument had not been cleaned over the years. Our position is that the Monument is bronze and has acquired a patina over the years which is natural and should remain untouched. It is rather the granite base of the Monument that requires attention and Mr. DeMarco stated a portion of the construction budget would allow for the granite base to be properly cleaned as it has fallen victim for years from “skateboarders” riding onto the base and ironically from deposits of candle wax from the faithful honoring our fallen heroes. Included in this reserved budget will be a structural integrity study of the base. This will protect all of us for years to come as we assemble in front of the Katyn Monument for future commemorative events.

The CCKMHO also discussed the landscaping in and around the Monument area and the access points as well. Due to security concerns bollards will be installed in the area of the Monument to prevent an intrusive event from happening such as a truck plowing into the Monument or the adjacent PATH station which has always been a target for terrorists. This is an accepted fact and we support the efforts of our Homeland Security advisers as well as the Port Authority Police who have jurisdiction over the area as well as the Jersey City Police and the New Jersey Transit Police. It is the world we live in today and we respect that. We are grateful to those who protect us.

Other items discussed with Ms. Cain and Mr. DeMarco were the type of plantings that would surround the Monument. Mr. DeMarco said he would consider low bushes and roses though his first instinct was to plant trees to reflect the Katyn forest. It was a nice gesture on his part and much appreciated.

In summary the CCKMHO recognizes the long road we have travelled to this point. It is only by perseverance and dedication to the work ahead that we can succeed for the future of our beloved Katyn Monument. We encourage all who read this article to contact the CCKMHO at monumentkatyn@gmail.com so that we may provide a more detailed account of what will happen at Exchange Place in the months ahead. We also look forward to any comments or suggestions from the public so that we can communicate this information on your behalf to the Exchange Place SID at our future meetings.

Written by Charles Balcer,
Vice Chairman of the Board for the Committee for the
Conservation of the Katyn Monument & Historic Objects