Office of the Mayor – West Windsor Township
January 2, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Shing-Fu Hsueh, Mayor
West Windsor Township
Two Parks under Development in West Windsor
West Windsor, N.J. -- Two parks are currently under development in West Windsor Township. These parks are Duck Pond Park located on Meadow Road and the Princeton Junction Pocket Park on Alexander Road near County Route 571. Both parks are being designed and developed as envisioned in the Municipal Master Plan as well as the Open Space Utilization Report developed in 2003. This latter report was developed by a group of residents organized by Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh to study the use of open space in West Windsor Township. Officially known as “The Open Space Utilization Task Force”, the group was comprised of representatives from sports organizations, the Friends of West Windsor Open Space (FOWWOS), Township Council, the Environmental Commission, and other citizens. The deliverable from this group was a report in 2003 which presented findings and detailed recommendations for the use, development, and maintenance of West Windsor’s open space including estimated budgets. This report was presented to and adopted by the West Windsor Planning Board and became a blueprint for Township staff in formulating the Township’s yearly Capital Budget for recreation and open space.
Duck Pond Park, measures 123.48 acres in area. Named after the stream it borders, Duck Pond Run, the park will be a second “community” park for West Windsor Township, located on the north side of the Northeast Corridor train line. As a community park, proposed facilities will have elements of active recreation including several soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, a playground, picnic areas, amphitheatre, comfort stations, and a pond that may include fishing. Walking or jogging trails will be developed throughout the park. The park access drive, parking areas and the pond have already been constructed by the Township. Three illuminated grass soccer fields have also been constructed in concert with the WW/P Soccer Association. Court games and paths are envisioned for the next phase of development. A matching grant of $500,000 from Mercer County has been received to fund much of the development of this park.
The Princeton Junction Pocket Park, having only 1.5 acres, is a small park located amid the Princeton Junction residential area, and was originally envisioned by the Open Space Utilization Task Force as a park having lawn games, a fountain, and gardens and possibly a pavilion or storage building. The Sustainability Element of the Township Master Plan, which was established in the fall of 2009, and approved by both the Planning Board and Township Council, included a recommendation to "create a cultural garden that celebrates and demonstrates the different inspiration, philosophy, style and techniques of ornamental gardening in other cultures to cultivate a respect and understanding of the diverse cultural background of residents.” This vision seemed consistent with the plan for the pocket park on Alexander Road where local residents, including the Gables, Berrien City, and Sherbrook, as well as visitors to the area could have a walkable place to sit and enjoy the gardens and other elements. Princeton Junction Park will serve as the community gathering space for the east side of the redeveloping Princeton Junction business district. The renaissance of this portion of the downtown area is beginning and the park will also provide a place for customers of the reconstructed 7-11 and Windsor Plaza to enjoy sitting, picnicking, strolling, lawn games, gardening, and social gathering in an inviting outdoor setting.
As with Duck Pond Park, a sketch of the Princeton Junction Park was developed by the Open Space Utilization Task Force in its 2003 report. It envisioned a small central “town green” with landscape gardens and a small structure as a focal point near a green lawn. Design development sketches for the park were developed this summer by the Township Landscape Architect and a local resident studying Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University, who interned with the Township this past summer. This sketch joined the “town green” concept with the “cultural garden” concept and included a water element, seating pavilion, and several small themed garden spaces around the town green. The garden spaces are envisioned to foster the organization of resident garden groups that will help determine the specific elements and plantings to be implemented representing gardens reflecting the cultural diversity of the community.
A noted Landscape Architect from Shanghai, Yunhua Hu, visited with Mayor Hsueh in the summer of 2012. During Mr. Hu’s visit, he met with the Township Landscape Architect and the summer intern to discuss possible traditional elements and plantings for the portions of the park that may represent Chinese gardening traditions. Members of the local Indian American community also met with the Township Landscape Architect to help create a seating garden and small landscape vista design that has been incorporated into the concept plans. The current conceptual design will be presented for public review with residents of the community to facilitate formation of the garden group(s). .
At present, there is no Capital Budget appropriated for the construction of the pocket park. The initial landscape development of this small park, which has recently been implemented, is tied to the development of the 7-11 at the Valero Gas station at the intersection of County Route 571 and Alexander Road. As part of a settlement agreement between the Township and owners of the Valero station, the station owners were permitted to use the park’s 1.5 acres as a staging area for construction by agreeing to clear the pioneer vegetation on the property and then partially re-grade the property once construction was completed. The developer has also agreed to construct walkways, gentle berms and landscape within a portion of the park.
Friends of West Windsor Open Space (FOWWOS) has viewed the concept plan and offered to help fund the park given that it is a 501(c) 3 organization that can accept charitable donations for the acquisition or development of open space. FOWWOS was instrumental in the establishment of the September 11 memorial twin ponds in the Ron Rogers Arboretum. Being the first 9-11 memorial in the nation, this memorial was totally funded through donations of money, time, and materials.
It is envisioned that, like the 9-11 memorial twin ponds, no taxpayer money will be used for the development of this park. In the Sustainability Element of the Master Plan, it was also suggested that, “These gardens should be developed in concert with a cultural garden club or a local civic organization that will sponsor, operate and maintain the garden as a community gathering space.” This park will be a part of the public spaces to be created in concert with the redevelopment and beautification plan of the Princeton Junction area.
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