The Polish Community USA Commission has sent a letter to the Jersey City Spatial Planning Commission with a compromise project to renovate the plaza on which the Katyn Memorial is located. It will take into account the interests of the Polish-American community that organizes national events there.

In correspondence with the Planning Commission Department of Jersey City, NJ, the Commission for the Preservation of Katyn Monument and Historic Sites (CCKM & HO) expresses its concerns, among other things, except that the redesign of the venue will not take into account the mass nature of the ceremonies organized at the memorial . It would make access difficult, fail to meet safety requirements and interfere with visibility.

In the correspondence signed by the Vice Chairman of the Business Affairs Committee, Wojciech Stan Mazur, admitted that some requests addressed to the Executive Director of EPA-SID, Elizabeth Kane, the administrative and business unit responsible for the shape and development of the district, were taken into account. Among other things, trees near the monument obscure its view, and an expanded pavement space to accommodate nearly 200 people.

“Great events that we have organized in the past (…) had up to 500-700 people. In this case, getting permission to gather and designing the access to the space in such a way that the public fills the space around the memorial also from the side of Montgomery Street, it would be convenient and safe compared to the very limited space on the side of the Hudson River” – emphasizes inter alia CCKM & HO.

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It draws attention to the fact that surrounding the monument with an earthen fence and high benches, keeping only one entrance, would make it difficult to evacuate. In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, it will also make it impossible to maintain a social distance.

In a letter to the Planning Committee, CCKM & HO emphasized that no one had sought their approval of the plans, and had only politely notified the SID which of the Committee’s demands were which changes had been taken into account and which had not.

The CCKM & HO compromise proposal assumes, among other things, the replacement of the remaining trees near the monument with lower shrubs, the replacement of the planned seating with a high back that blocks the view from the lower seating and the construction of a 4.5 meter wide entrance from Montgomery Street.

Andrei Dobroolsky from New York