Mercer County seeks input on new ‘water sports’ park


The Mercer County Park Commission’s buy of a small plot of land on Hughes Drive in Hamilton in 2017 spread out a global of possibilities for the fee and—by way of extension—county residents.

The commission has started planning and researching potential park upgrades 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 planning technique, the commission is in search of entering from county citizens to layout a passive endeavor park focusing on using a massive lake for water sports activities. According to a park commission launch, the finances for this recuperation system are derived from the Open Space Preservation Trust Fund.

Dam Site 21 became planned as part of the Assunpink Creek Watershed Water Works Plan inside the early 1960s. The county’s approach to lessen flood harm and broaden water assets inside the Assunpink Watershed. The land of Dam Site 21 was bought within the 1970s, and the dam was constructed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service. Since then, the land has been held and used for permanent undertaking and conservation of water assets.

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

Water Sports

While the region is utilized by the public for fishing and trekking activities, there is currently a restricted get right of entry to and services—the buy of four. Five acres of land fronting Hughes Drive created, for the first time, the capability of direct gets entrance to the web page from a first-rate roadway.

Around a year ago, the parking fee started out thinking about revisions to the site to contain new thoughts. As a primary step, the county released a request for qualifications from panorama architects and engineering firms. After reviewing applications and interviews from 13 submissions, the county chose Simone Collins Landscape Architecture, a “rather nearby firm that has deep enjoy in the park making plans tasks like this one,” superintendent of parks Anthony Cucchi said.

The county also hired Princeton Hydro, an environmental solutions company, an excellent way to read the park by studying storm weather-readiness, water quality, and factors associated with the lake to become aware of possibilities for restoration. The firm will also be delineating wetlands to determine wherein trails are possible and engaging in a topographical survey to recognize where specific facilities should be positioned.

“The parking fee and county are excited to partake in a making plans procedure to revision the website and consider different ways that it could be applied beyond flood control,” Cucchi said.

One situation in building this park has been the property of residents dwelling adjacent to Dam Site 21. Since this land has been informally used by close by citizens for decades, the formalization and preservation manner may additionally reason modifications for people who live close by. Individually, the county and contracted companies will be engaging in a boundary survey to decide how Dam Site 21 ends and private belongings start to evolve.

While Cucchi highlighted the advantages of getting a park being constructed nearby, he stated this problem.

“The community ought to have a voice within the procedure,” he said. “We see this as a top-notch opportunity, now not most effective for the Mercer County extra location, but the unique residents close by.”

Toward this goal, the parking fee is pursuing 4 avenues on the lookout for community enter. One is advisory committees, which includes representatives from municipalities and institutional landowners like Mercer County Community College. An excellent way to weigh in on how park renovations ought to affect nearby communities.

The 2nd is consciousness organization interviews, one in all which become held on Feb. 19 at the Boathouse at Mercer Lake. Residents and network organizations are invited to provide their entry on the renovations. The fee additionally intends to hold one-on-one interviews with experts and specialists on matters referring to the web page and public meetings. The first one is scheduled for six:30 p.M. on March 7 at the conference center at Mercer County Community College. Also, until Oct. 1, residents can voice their evaluations of the mission on a web survey.

These various input ranges might be accumulated and compared with the studies carried out via the gotten smaller firms to decide what measures are viable and how the park can provide extraordinary amenities than the nearby Mercer County Park. This input technique is part of the more significant grasp plan phase to be submitted to the park commissioners in October for comments and approval.

Actual construction on the park is not probably till after 2019. However, Cucchi emphasized the significance of getting a more protracted yet more magnificent obvious manner. “In the long run, we’ll give you a far higher product if we are seeking that civic engagement and public input,” he said. “As a long way as excitement, we’re clearly excited to hear the ideas and thoughts that human beings have.”