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Griggs Farm Slated for Rehab After Site Gets $200,000 Grant

Matthew Hersh

Griggs Farm, the 16-year-old housing development along Route 206, is slated for a quarter-million-dollar improvement project that, if approved by Township Committee, will be funded largely by money granted by the state to the Township.

The $200,000 grant, handed down by the state's Department of Community Affairs (DCA), was specifically requested for improvements toward Griggs Farm and was the culmination of a three-year effort by the development's homeowners association and the municipality, said Robert Kiser, Township engineer.

Most of the $262,000 cost of the project will be covered by the grant, with the Township shouldering the balance.

Included in the improvement project, slated to begin after it goes out to bid sometime before Labor Day, are the installation of new light fixtures, sidewalk and curbing, crosswalks and signs, and the replacement of several trees for the construction of a pedestrian pathway. The plan is also to repair current -sidewalks and add six spaces to the current parking capacity.

This is not the first time Griggs Farm has undergone repair with money from DCA's Small Cities Grant. Several years ago. a similar project provided additional parking and repaired the development's sewers and drains.

This particular project stemmed from a meeting between the homeowners and the Princeton Township Police Department's Neighborhood Policing Unit, Mr. Kiser said. Residents had been concerned that the lighting was not sufficient and could result in potential safety risks. Residents had also suggested that some of the pathways throughout the development needed better connectivity to improve pedestrian circulation.

"We looked at [the problems] and we said 'okay, there are other repairs that are needed,' and we worked to apply for the DCA grant," Mr. Kiser said.

Use of the grant, which came through at the end of last month, is expected to be approved at Committee's January 31 meeting.

The state provided the Township $525,000 in grants for the end of 2004. In addition to the Griggs Farm Small Cities Grant the Township received a $50,000 grant for the Mountain Lakes Dam improvement. The Department of Transportation issued two grants: $100,000 for Rosedale Road pathway repair; and $150,000 for the reconstruction of Clearview Avenue, Tee-Ar Place, and Dorann Avenue.

The Township also received $25,000 from the state to be used to build a pedestrian pathway from Griggs Farm to Route 206. Mr. Kiser said the municipality is waiting for other anticipated grants to come through before that project is addressed.

Griggs Farm, a 280-unit development, was built in 1989, but not formally completed until 1999. Satisfying a portion of the Township's Mt. Laurel affordable housing obligation, Princeton Community Housing (PCH) manages 70 low-income rental units in the development.

The 26.5-acre property was named after Burnett and Ruth Griggs, who bought the property nearly 60 years ago. Mr. Griggs was a prominent African-American business owner who owned the Imperial Restaurant, once located near the corner of Witherspoon and Hulfish Streets in the Borough. "Griggs' Corner" as the site is now called, lies directly across from the Princeton Public Library.


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