Barack Obama won’t edge out JFK on South Jersey building

U.S. President Barack Obama is a big fan of basketball, often playing hoops himself. Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters

A South Jersey rec center will not be renamed after President Barack Obama after all.

The Willingboro Township Council reversed their decision Tuesday night, just shy of one month since the 5-member board decided that the previously named JFK Center would be renamed after the country’s sitting, 44th president.

According to the Burlington County Times, more than 200 residents attended to meeting to express outrage over the controversial decision.

The building, which was first built as a high school in the mid-1960s, currently serves as the municipality’s recreation center and senior citizen hub, according to the newspaper. Obama’s name was slated to grace the building’s facade once a large-scale, $4.9 million renovation concludes next March.

Township Councilman Chris Walker, who advocated for the change, told the newspaper in August that he agreed it is unusual to rename a municipal building after a sitting president, but said the council felt the recognition was warranted. He added that the change was not meant as a slight against Kennedy, who was assassinated in the middle of his first and only term in 1963, especially since the center is located on John F. Kennedy Way.

On Tuesday he told the newspaper that he received constructive feedback from Kennedy boosters and some area residents, but also received hateful messages, some of which called him a “black supremacist.”

“That’s what is most disappointing to me,” Walker told the newspaper.

Not surprisingly, the majority Democratic town strongly supported Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan


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