Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 39
 
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
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Springdale Road Seen as Alternative to Alexander as University Expands

JOEL S. GREENBERG
Parkside Drive

Master Plan for Community Park Pool Calls for Expensive, Unneeded Changes

ROBERT OWEN
Battle Road Circle


Springdale Road Seen as Alternative to Alexander as University Expands

To the Editor:

Princeton University is in the planning stage for a massive expansion that will lead to a reshaping of the downtown Princeton area. In particular, major changes are planned to the infrastructure in the area around Alexander Road. It is likely that the planned changes will, or could, result in significant traffic problems. In the overall planning process, consideration should be given to ways of alleviating the potential traffic problems. One of the ways traffic could be reduced on Alexander Road is to provide an alternative to using Alexander Road. Such an alternative would be to utilize Springdale Road — in addition to Alexander Road — that goes from Mercer Street and intersects Alexander Road near the Canal. Part of this road is currently paved and part is unpaved and barricaded. Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study own all or most of the land associated with this alternative.

Because of the enormity of the potential impact of the planned University expansion, it is important that the planning process consider solutions that may not be in the immediate vicinity of Alexander Road.

JOEL S. GREENBERG
Parkside Drive

Master Plan for Community Park Pool Calls for Expensive, Unneeded Changes

To the Editor:

Princeton residents took part in an information session at the Community Park Pool (CPP) on September 6, at which the Princeton Recreation Department, accompanied by contracted consultants, project managers, and engineers, elicited input from the community regarding proposed changes to CPP. Since then, a Master Plan has been presented to the Borough/Township and one of our town’s loveliest parks is in danger of being rendered unrecognizable and sadly generic.

At the CPP meeting, the Recreation Department and aquatic-industry representatives presented a proposal to upgrade the facility. This included a vision of what many consider a “theme park” version of CPP. Over and over, a diverse group of residents made thoughtful pleas to exercise restraint and preserve the soul of the complex. There was a generous exchange of ideas, as well as an air of assurance that the concerns and wishes of the pool’s patrons would be considered going forward.

Sadly, the recently presented Parks and Recreation Master Plan arouses a fear many had at the meeting. Specifically, it describes a CCP with “two 30-foot water towers with varying types of slides and the possibility of developing more slides in the future,” as well as a “large concession area” and “large water spray-ground.” Also enclosed in the report are 15 pictures of hyper-designed community pools that presumably represent an archetype of what’s to come; all are sharp departures from the beautiful simplicity of the existing pool facility.

Clearly the CPP requires thoughtful upgrading and infrastructure work, and many would welcome changes that improve and complement the existing experience. One resident remarked that CCP is a park that happens to have a pool in it. It’s a great, affordable place to spend a summer day for people of all ages.

On an ironic note, one of the aqua-industry reps at the September 6 meeting explained that local pools around the country have invested in “alternative aquatic entertainment” because attendance has steadily declined, but then pointed out that this was not the case at Community Park, where attendance and satisfaction are high. This begs the question, Why? Why turn up the volume of the place?

It is an expensive proposition that’s also elective and unnecessary. I’m not faulting the aqua-firms for suggesting significant changes that would generate business. But implementing the major aesthetic elements of the proposed CPP plan would be a tragic move on the part of our local government. CPP is genuine and unique. These are great compliments nowadays. I urge the planning board to respect the aesthetics and dynamics of this distinctive community and preserve what is undeniably a local gem.

While I understand this is the beginning of what promises to be a lengthy review period, and appreciate the Recreation Department’s attempt to reach out to the community for input, the Master Plan’s initial proposal may be an ominous sign of things to come. More is not always better.

ROBERT OWEN
Battle Road Circle

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