Mercer County seeks enter on new ‘water sports’ park


The Mercer County Park Commission’s purchase of a small plot of land on Hughes Drive in Hamilton in 2017 opened up a global of opportunities for the fee and—via extension—county residents.

The fee has commenced planning and researching potential park enhancements to a 370-acre parcel referred to as Dam Site 21. The park occupies the land where the borders of Hamilton, Robbinsville and West Windsor meet, south of Mercer County Park.

As part of that making plans technique, the commission is in search of input from county residents to design a passive recreation park with a focal point on the use of a large lake for water sports. According to a park commission launch, the price range for this restoration procedure is derived from the Open Space Preservation Trust Fund.


Dam Site 21 turned into planned as a part of the Assunpink Creek Watershed Water Works Plan in the early 1960s, the county’s method to reduce flood harm and expand water sources inside the Assunpink Watershed. The land of Dam Site 21 became offered within the 1970s, and the dam turned into constructed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service. Since then, the land has been held and used for everlasting exercise and conservation of water resources.

The lake in Dam Site 21 is around fifty-five acres, and the close by region incorporates undeveloped uplands, wetlands, woodlands and open fields. A portion of the Capital to Coast Trail runs along the northern facet of the lake from Line Road in Robbinsville to Old Trenton Road in West Windsor.

While the place is used by the public for fishing and hiking activities, there is currently confined get entry to and services — the buy of four. Five acres of land fronting Hughes Drive created, for the primary time, the ability of direct gets right of entry to the site from a first-rate roadway.

Around a yr ago, the park commission commenced thinking about revisions to the web page to contain new ideas. As a primary step, the county released a request for qualifications from landscape architects and engineering companies. After reviewing programs and interviews from thirteen submissions, the county selected Simone Collins Landscape Architecture, a “somewhat nearby company that has deep experience in park planning projects like this one,” superintendent of parks Anthony Cucchi stated.

The county also employed Princeton Hydro, an environmental solutions firm as a way to be reading the park by way of analyzing typhoon climate readiness, water best, and elements associated with the lake, with the intention to identify possibilities for recovery. The firm may also be delineating wetlands to determine wherein trails are feasible, and carrying out a topographical survey to understand where unique services ought to be located.

“The parking fee and county are excited to partake in a making plans technique to revision the website online and remember other methods that it can be utilised beyond flood manage,” Cucchi stated.

One problem in constructing this park has been the property of citizens residing adjoining to Dam Site 21. Since this land has been informally utilised by close by residents for many years, the formalisation and preservation procedure might also motive adjustments for people who live closeby. Precisely, the county and getting smaller firms may be accomplishing a boundary survey to determine wherein Dam Site 21 ends and private property starts offevolved.

While Cucchi highlighted the blessings of getting a park being built close by, he acknowledged this subject.

“The community have to have a voice inside the system,” he stated. “We see this as a superb opportunity, now not simplest for the Mercer County greater region, however the specific residents close by.”

Toward this goal, the parking fee is pursuing four avenues on the lookout for community input. One is advisory committees, such as representatives from municipalities and institutional landowners like Mercer County Community College, as a way to be requested to weigh in on how park renovations should affect nearby communities.

The 2nd is attention institution interviews, one in every of which turned into hung on Feb. 19 on the Boathouse at Mercer Lake. Residents and community businesses are invited to offer their input at the renovations. The fee also intends to preserve one-on-one interviews with specialists and professionals on subjects referring to the web page, in addition to public conferences. The first one is scheduled for six:30 p.M. March 7 at the convention centre at Mercer County Community College. Also, until Oct. 1, citizens can voice their opinions of the mission on an online survey.

These varying degrees of input might be accrued and in comparison with the studies executed using the gotten smaller firms to decide what measures are feasible, and how the park can offer unique amenities than the close by Mercer County Park. This enter system is part of the larger grasp plan phase, with a purpose to be supplied to the park commissioners in October for feedback and approval.

Actual creation at the park is not probably until after 2019, but Cucchi emphasised the significance of having a more extended but more transparent technique. “In the lengthy-run, we’ll provide you with a much better product if we are searching for that civic engagement and public enter,” he stated. “As far as excitement, we’re simply excited to listen to the thoughts and thoughts that people have.”

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