Office of the Mayor – West Windsor Township
January 4 , 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shing-Fu Hsueh, Mayor
West Windsor Township
Grovers Mill Pond Restoration Moves Forward
West Windsor Township Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh announced that the long-awaited restoration of Grovers Mill Pond is moving forward. Conceptual plans were discussed recently between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and West Windsor’s township engineer. The U.S Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) have jurisdiction over the waterways of New Jersey including the Grovers Mill Pond.
Restoration of the pond is the third and final step in the restoration of the Grovers Mill area. Van Nest Park was redeveloped in 1994 with the addition of improved parking facilities, walking paths, restrooms, boat launch, and a small boardwalk. This project was funded by the township at an estimated cost of $160,000. The reconstruction of Grovers Mill Dam, which is now complete, was also funded by the township at an approximate cost of $690,000 which was bonded in 1993. The reconstruction of the dam was required by the NJDEP to comply with current dam safety standards.
Funds to improve the Grovers Mill area, including the restoration of the pond, have been included in the township’s long-range capital budget for many years. In 2003 it was estimated that the cost to restore the pond would be approximately $2.5 million. This amount was included in the township’s 6-year capital budget with the expectation of full funding by the township and implementation in 2006. During this time, however, the township was also pursuing other funding options for the pond restoration.
In July of 2003, Mayor Hsueh and Congressman Rush Holt announced that a $1,000,000 matching grant had been awarded to the township for habitat restoration in the Grovers Mill Pond. The township’s matching requirement for this grant was $500,000 providing a total of $1,500,000 for the project.
The recently discussed concept includes the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to dredge Grovers Mill Pond to remove the heavy layers of silt that have built up over the past 250 years. The project will be completed by creating multiple underwater pools of 8 to 10 feet in depth which will create refuge areas for fish during the summer and winter. The dredging will be performed in a manner to ensure that the depth is not uniform and that contours are created to provide habitat diversity to fishery populations.
Cost estimates by the Army Corps of Engineers have been given as approximately $4.6 million. However, they will seek additional federal funding in the amount of $2.9 million, leaving a balance of $1.7 million to be supplied by West Windsor Township. This amount is $800,000 less than the cost estimate of $2.5 million in 2003. The earlier, lower cost estimates were based on older survey and study information. The new estimates are based on a study and survey performed by the Army Corps of Engineers within the past two years. Mayor Hsueh stated, “It would be prudent to schedule the cleanup while we have funding assistance available.”
Mayor Hsueh, who is also a water resource engineering professional added, “If we want this to be a pond, then the cleanup is inescapable. If we want it to become a swamp, then we do nothing.” The township will be considering the new funding requirements as part of the 2006 budget. Even though the project has grown more expensive over time as the new study has been completed, the township portion remains well under the $2.5 million budgeted in 2003.
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