January 18, 2017

IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY: Princeton Councilman Lance Liverman delivered a positive message at a prayer breakfast held in memory of Martin Luther King, at Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center. Bob Durkee, the University’s vice president and secretary, looks on at far left. (Photo by Denise Applewhite, Courtesy of Princeton University)

This year for the first time, Princeton University designated Martin Luther King Day a school holiday. That gave students and faculty the day off on Monday, January 16, and many of them joined members of the local community to remember the late civil rights activist at a special prayer breakfast in the University’s Carl A. Fields Center. more

Advocating the benefits of recycling to residents of Princeton can be like preaching to the choir. But there is more to creating a truly sustainable community than even the most dedicated recyclers may be aware. more

MOVING ON: Potter John Shedd, a fixture in Rocky Hill for decades, is relocating his shop and studio to Hopewell. The stalled bridge repair work on Route 518 has kept customers away for too long, making a major dent in his important holiday sales season. Look for John Shedd Designs this spring in Hopewell’s Tomato Factory. 

For John Shedd, the idea of moving his pottery studio from Rocky Hill to Hopewell is nothing new. He has mulled it over for years. more

January 11, 2017

At Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, January 4, returning member Jenny Crumiller and newcomer Tim Quinn were sworn in. New Jersey Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker administered the oath of office to Mayor Liz Lempert, who was elected to a second term.

No official actions were taken at a meeting the following Monday, January 9, but the governing body heard a presentation about storm water management, was updated on 2017 budget goals, and was asked by a member of the public to consider creating a resolution opposing the proposed expansion of Princeton Charter School. That issue will likely be on the agenda for the Council meeting on January 23. A third gathering being held Tuesday, January 10 (after press time) is dedicated to setting goals and priorities for the coming year. more

Williamson Hall overlooking the Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College.

At a packed meeting of Princeton’s Historic Preservation Commission last week, a group of students, alumni, and friends of Westminster Choir College of Rider University asked that the Westminster campus on Walnut Avenue be registered as a historic district. The request is part of an effort to keep the music school’s operations in Princeton, instead of relocating to Rider’s Lawrenceville location, a move the financially strapped University is considering. more

January 4, 2017

Mayor Liz Lempert has named nine appointees to Princeton’s new Civil Rights Commission, which is designed to provide informal conflict resolution and mediation. Princeton Council is expected to approve the list at its annual reorganization meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 4.

Members come from different sectors of the community, including four affiliated with Princeton University. “I’m excited about the launch of this important commission, and I’m especially thrilled with the diversity of residents who have volunteered to serve, and the expertise they bring to the table,” Ms. Lempert wrote in an email on Tuesday. more

A proposal by The Coalition to Save Westminster Choir College in Princeton is on the agenda of the Princeton Historical Commission’s meeting scheduled for Thursday evening, January 5.

Constance Fee, president of the school’s Alumni Council, plans to read a brief introduction to the proposal, which asks that the 28-acre campus be designated a historical landmark. Financially strapped Rider University, which has owned Westminster since 1992, is studying the idea of selling the Walnut Avenue site and relocating Westminster to Rider’s main campus in Lawrenceville. The request to the Historical Commission is part of an effort by students, alumni, and friends of Westminster to protect the campus and keep it where it has been since 1932.

“It’s not just the people. It’s the environment,” said Ms. Fee, an alumna whose mother also graduated from the school. On the music faculty at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, Ms. Fee has sent three of her former students to Westminster. “This is a Greek Revival style campus that was built specifically for educating a choir, with rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, teaching studios, and organs,” she continued. “To replicate that would be a staggering task.” more

MUCH NEEDED ADDITION: The new addition to be built on the grounds of Morven has been designed by GWWO Architects as a support structure that augments the historic mansion rather than stealing the architectural spotlight. Groundbreaking is Thursday. (Watercolor renderings by artist Mark Schreiber)

It has taken more than a decade, but Morven Museum and Garden is finally ready to break ground on a new building that will house an area for programming, a classroom, offices, and much needed storage space. On Thursday morning, January 5 at 10:30 a.m., shovels will officially hit the dirt. more

December 28, 2016

AS IT HAPPENS: This is how the site of Princeton University’s Arts & Transit complex looked last January. Much progress has been made on the buildings designed by architect Steven Holl, and the project is still scheduled to be completed in 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The rapid pace of teardowns and the often out-of-scale houses that replace them was an issue that dominated discussions in Princeton throughout 2016. The town’s changing character was the theme in the platforms of nearly every candidate who ran for local office in 2016. Midway through the year, moved to take action by the presence of bulldozers all over town, Princeton Council formed a Neighborhood Character and Zoning Initiative. more

December 21, 2016

To the relief of several residents and the consternation of some local architects, Princeton Council voted Monday evening to approve an ordinance that revises the town’s land use code regarding single family residential development. The ordinance adjusts or creates new parameters for porches, prevailing front yard setback, and the measurement of cathedral ceilings. more

Among the topics of a closed session that preceded Monday night’s meeting of Princeton Council was potential litigation by AvalonBay Communities, developer of the rental complex on the former site of Princeton Hospital.

A letter mailed to Princeton’s administrator Marc Dashield by AvalonBay senior vice president Ronald S. Ladell advised Mr. Dashield that the development company wants to be reimbursed the $100,233 paid to consultants from the escrow accounts created by AvalonBay for work during construction. Mr. Ladell claims that invoices from the Whitman company, the environmental consultants hired to oversee the construction, are incomplete. more

TREASURES FROM THE MINOR WHITE ARCHIVE: This picture of two women, taken in 1949 in San Francisco, is among the thousands of images in the archive available on Princeton University Art Museum’s website.

The recent announcement that more than 5,000 images and related material by American modernist photographer Minor White are now available through the Princeton University Art Museum’s website was welcome news, and not just for those already familiar with Mr. White’s groundbreaking work. more

December 14, 2016

Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College

News that Westminster Choir College (WCC) of Rider University may be moved to Rider’s Lawrenceville campus is not sitting well with students and alumni of the prestigious music school, who want to keep it in downtown Princeton. more

YUM: Wildflour Bakery is among the vendors at this season’s Winter Market, which opens Thursday, December 15 in the Community Room of Princeton Public Library. What started as a small offshoot of the April-November market is now bustling with vendors who vie for a spot to sell their wares. (Photo by Megan McKeever)

Not long after he debuted the Princeton Farmers Market in two parking lots of the old Wild Oats market on Nassau Street, Jack Morrison got a phone call from Leslie Burger, former director of the Princeton Public Library. She had a suggestion. more

Last June, Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) announced it was pursuing a partnership with Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania’s health system. This week, the University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees voted for the plan, following approval from the Penn Medicine Executive Committee and the PHCS Board. All that remains to finalize the deal is approval by state and federal authorities. more

December 7, 2016

At a meeting of Princeton’s Planning Board last week, developer Charles Yedlin received approval to put an office building on the site of the former headquarters of a longtime animal shelter. The Herrontown Road location was home to SAVE, a Friend to Homeless Animals, for 74 years before the organization moved to a 10-acre expanse in Skillman in August, 2015. more

Simon Morrison was hoping to pursue a career as an orchestral musician when he fell in love with 20th-century Russian music. From that fascination grew an interest in Russian ballet. Soon, these subjects, and their histories, eclipsed his plans to play percussion or tuba in a symphony orchestra. more

Princeton Council voted on Monday, December 5 to approve an extension to March 31 of a developer’s agreement requested by architect J. Robert Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder).

Mr. Hillier had asked the governing body at its November 28 meeting to modify an amendment to the original agreement for the Waxwood, a former school for black children in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood that he converted to 34 rental units over a decade ago. The agreement dictated that eight of the 34 rental units would be sold after a period of five years. Mr. Hillier would like to keep them as rentals. more

November 30, 2016

A request to amend a developer’s agreement for The Waxwood building on Quarry Street, in the historic Witherspoon-Jackson district, was the topic of a work session at a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night.

Architect/developer J. Robert Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder) has asked Council to modify an amendment to the original agreement, which dictated that the rental units would be sold after a period of five years. Mr. Hillier told Council that should the units be converted, he feared tenants would not be able to afford to buy them. more

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HELP AND SUSTENANCE: During a recent visit to Matipwiri, the village in Malawi sponsored by Trinity Church, Ruth Thurmond Scott, center, delivered a supplemental food package to residents affected by HIV and AIDS.

Thursday, December 1 is World AIDS Day, an annual observance that promotes awareness of the AIDS pandemic. While AIDS-related morality rates have dropped dramatically in some parts of the globe, there are regions where the disease continues to claim victims at a devastating rate. more

Jeffrey C. Grosser, Princeton’s health officer since 2014, will become the town’s new assistant administrator starting in January. Mr. Grosser fills the vacancy left by the departure of longtime assistant administrator Kathy Monzo, who left earlier this year to take a position in North Brunswick.

“We did an extensive search and we had people apply from as far away as Chicago and Florida, but he rose to the top,” said Marc Dashield, Princeton’s administrator. “It’s really a credit to him.” more

November 27, 2016

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THINGS ARE LOOKING UP: Preparing for two area holiday concerts and a busy touring schedule, the American Boychoir is on firm footing after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The boys sing in Princeton December 5 and 18.

Nineteen months after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and nearly closing its doors, the American Boychoir is back on its feet. The famed private school and choir founded in 1937, locally based since 1950, has two upcoming holiday concerts in Princeton, gigs with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and a tour to China on its schedule.  more

November 23, 2016

Princeton has earned its share of awards and honors over the years. But local officials consider the latest designation, The American Planning Association’s naming of Nassau Street as winner of the 2016 “People’s Choice” award in the Great Places in America program, to be especially significant.

“Winning the People’s Choice Award for Great Places in America is an enormous honor for our town, and it’s an honor shared with our planning staff, Historic Preservation Commission, local merchants, Princeton University (which helps to ensure we have an independent bookstore and movie theater), residents, and visitors,” said Mayor Liz Lempert in an email. “Nassau Street’s lively mix is also a result of wise decisions by our predecessors, who helped to plan and shape the street over generations into a place with a sense of place that has withstood the test of time.” more

November 16, 2016

At a post-election gathering last Thursday evening at Princeton Public Library, an overflow crowd of anxious residents voiced their fears about the future and heard pledges of support from local officials and the heads of non-profit and religious groups. Organized by the town’s Human Services Department, Mayor Liz Lempert and library director Brett Bonfield, the “Post-Election Conversation with Community Leaders” brought an overflow crowd to the library’s Community Room. more

A public dialogue between Princeton Council and Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber turned testy November 9 when a member of Council confronted Mr. Eisgruber about his response to the way local police handled the arrest of University Professor Imani Perry early this year. Also prominent in the discussion at Monument Hall was the fate of Springdale Golf Course. more