Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso says a spray-painted Matt Kent memorial inside the Clark Reservoir near Madison Hill Road will be removed.
The large painting which reads "RIP Matt Kent" appeared on Wednesday, about a week afterClark Police are awaiting autopsy results to announce the cause of death.
"I'm sorry for the family of Matt Kent and it's very sad to see a man so young in life go down this path," said Bonaccorso, "but this painting is defacing private property and will be removed."
Bonaccorso says the painting appears on a pumper station that is still owned by the Middlesex Water Company inside the the Clark Wildlife Preserve section of the reservoir's Robinson branch. The reservoir itself is Union County property. The painting can be seen by drivers and passersby outside the reservoir on Madison Hill Road.
"They Middlesex Water Company called us to find out what this was about and will be painting over it," Bonaccorso told Patch. "It is very pretty artwork, but this is not an appropriate place for it."
Bonaccorso added that police have a good idea who created the painting and that those involved could be fined.
As to how Kent died and whether there is a prescription pill problem in Clark, Bonaccorso says the problem is statewide and calls it "an epidemic that keeps festering." Bonaccorso says that Clark Police are cognizant of the widespread abuse of pills and other narcotics and are on top of the problem.
Friends say Kent was "a genuinely good kid who was one of a kind and just got on the wrong track." Kent's friends also say he loved nature and the outdoors, perhaps suggesting why the painting was done inside the Clark Wildlife Preserve section of the reservoir.