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Matt Kent Memorial Appears Inside Clark Reservoir, Mayor Says It Will Be Removed

The spray-painted memorial featuring Kent's name can be seen from Madison Hill Road.

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.

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ClarkResident June 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM
It appears this young man was well-known and well liked and my condolences to his family an friends for having to deal with the loss of such a young life far too early. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the artwork is a moot point. The idea and substance behind it is touching and honorable and I love it, but make this young man's memory thrive on in more substantial way. He deserves to be remembered without all the battling back and forth regarding the legalities and the hints toward a "ghetto" look in Clark. I am sure his friends and family have what it takes to make his unfortunate death into something memorable and inspiring; tell his story and make it creative. RIP Matthew Kent.
Ellen Koulouthros June 18, 2012 at 04:44 PM
As are retired educator who has lived in this town for over 21 years, I applaud the beautiful artwork & tribute to Matt Kent. It was tastfully done and gives a strong message to our youth in this town to try and stop abusing prescriptive drugs. It is NOT OFFENSIVE.! Maybe a compromise can be reached. Why not leave it up until August 30th to commemorate Matt's birthday? I frequently walk the loop and am very impressed by the mural. In many towns, you see floweres & stuffed animals placed on public property in front of a telephone pole in memory of an individual who was killed or murdered. Let's work together here. We need to be proactive and try to develop programs to stop the drug abuse in this town. Many children in Clark coming from respectable families are involved in abusing prescriptive drugs. Stop fretting about the beautiful artwork,and let's work as a cohesive community to stop this spread of drup abuse! It's killing our children & families. I'm speaking for the younger generation as a senior citizen myself. LET'S PUT OUR CHILDREN FIRST!! RIP MATT! May God protect your family & friends.
meyer lansky June 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM
hey ellen koulouthros thank you.....that is the point iwas trying to make....this was not only a memorial dedicated to him....but a message to our future generation....when people pass the wall they see....and obviously take notice to the problem....my view was...maybe this town needs something like that to be kept up because not only does it tell his story but it tells the story of the path you choose going down this route....its a message to the younger generation(which we should be concerned about) that catches their eyes wen they see it....and its maybe something this town needs to reach the younger generation of clark...it catches their attention....i was at quick check on westfield ave and twice i overheard people speaking about the memorial....one was a couple of kids no older than 16 and they said they heard stories...BUT IT BROUGHT AWARENESS....and the second was 2 females mayb mid 40s and they spoke about how it would kill them if it was their child and the memorial was an inspiring piece of work done that brings the attention thats needed rather than sweeping it under the rug.....a petition is in the works....and those of you who understand and realize this isnt just a beautiful piece of artwork but a message this town needs we ask you please sign it....its 2012 and kids will not listen to their parents saying "just say no" something as simple as paint on a wall has more affect than words spoke by parents whom theyll just ignore
Chris June 18, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Hey meyer lansky...I, along with may others, are more than happy to sign the petition and I hope that will be the beginning toward a major breakthrough in Clark. I cannot help but wonder if this is going to be a losing battle, however, because of the legal matters and the opinions of many in Clark. "Clark Resident" stated above that creating something within the rules and/or guidelines (despite the fact that I disagree, I also believe that leaving the message up at least until Matt's birthday is fair and should not be such a big deal). Awareness is the most valuable lesson here and I think it should be mandated. I am unsure as to why Clark township does not want to step it up here. Hey Clark Resident, no disrespect intended; I see that you are simply thinking with your heart and want Matt's memory to remain without all the bull, and I thank you for your kindness which appears to be somewhat lacking in this town.. I think meyer lansky wants to point out the bigger picture here, perhaps something you may all be able to assist with.
miss you matt June 21, 2012 at 06:31 AM
I was very close to Matt and his passing was difficult for both myself and my entire family.I knew Matt before he got messed up with all of this.He came from a good family, was very kind hearted, and meant no harm to those around him.His problems became more than he could handle and unfortunately it led him to these circumstances.As someone who has seen the aftermath of his death and its influence on the youth of Clark and neighboring areas, the memorial has been like many previous postings have said, a learning experience.Through his struggles with addiction and even when he was clean Matt became close to many individuals who are both involved and at the source of the drug problem in our area.He has raised awareness of the severity of such drugs while also encouraging those who are in similar positions to seek help.He tried hard to help himself but couldn't get out of this mess. The memorial was done in a tasteful manner but yes I agree the location could have been better chosen.The memorial is a final goodbye for all of us that grew up and cared so much about him.Every time it is passed it is a reminder that things like this could happen to any of us if we continue with our unhealthy habits.The longer it stays up the more time it has its full affects on others and continues to influence them on their path to recovery.A compromise of leaving it up until his birthday causes no harm as it provides us with enough time to fully embrace the message it was intended to send.

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