March 24, 2021

Registering Opposition to Plans for New Soccer Field at Hilltop Park

To the Editor:

We have been informed that Hilltop Park is about to be changed drastically by the installation of a for-profit soccer field. We residents of Princeton Community Village, one of the densely populated neighborhoods near the park, wish to register our opposition.

First, let us state that the park already has many facilities, which all of Princeton enjoys: a playground for young children, a basketball court and skate park for older kids, an existing soccer field that is much more ecofriendly than the one proposed, and a softball field. Hilltop Park is beloved as well for its open field, which is used by a great many people around the clock and around the year. It is a wonderful place to enjoy nature, to take a walk, to visit with neighbors. To find space. We citizens of the community do not need a land grab by a for-profit high-tech facility that will cost us millions in up-front costs and maintenance.

Hilltop Park is lovely as it is, but it is almost over-used now: The present soccer field already attracts so many cars that pedestrians are endangered by illegal parking along narrow roads; residents of Princeton Community Village routinely find their parking spaces commandeered by soccer spectators — the new field will greatly exacerbate our parking problems; residents of Princeton Community Village (soon to comprise 250+ households) love the park. Everyone from babies in strollers to seniors use it a lot.

A great concern about the location of Hilltop Park is excessive runoff. The hill slope along Bunn Drive below the park is barely stable enough for the construction of the past decades. How can it tolerate runoff from additional tons of plastic grass and the toxic base under it?

All in all, what can the Princeton Recreation Department and Recreation Commission be thinking? How can the expanded soccer facility not degrade the environment and the community?

We respectfully request the Council hold a special hearing regarding this project and examine the costs of the new soccer field in Hilltop Park. It is not too late to quash a very bad thing. (123 others at Princeton Community Village signed their objections to the proposed soccer field as well.)

Barbara De Graaf Ajami
Tupelo Road, Princeton Community Village