Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 33
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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Township Endorses Princeton Ridge Preserve

Ellen Gilbert

Prompting words like “historic” and “thrilled” from audience members who commented afterwards, the Princeton Township Committee passed a resolution in support of the Princeton Ridge Preserve at its Monday evening meeting.

“This is a resolution to say that Township Committee is endorsing the idea of the Princeton Ridge Preserve, and that we’re encouraging preservation and acquisition through public and private initiatives,” commented Committeewoman Liz Lempert. The resolution had been removed from the evening’s grouping of consent agenda items to highlight its importance and allow for a separate vote.

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association Executive Director Jim Waltman thanked the Committee for passing the resolution, noting that the Princeton Ridge Preserve had long been a priority for the Association, which is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. Displaying a 1971 publication that urged citizens to protect Herrontown Woods, he noted that the ecological values of the Ridge have been well-documented, and announced that new funding from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Acres program would be used to “protect the ecology of the lands in question,” and to provide “outstanding opportunities for recreation.”

Friends of Princeton Open Space President Wendy Mager also expressed her pleasure about the passage of the resolution. Looking forward to groups that would be working together on preserving Princeton Ridge, she noted that the New Jersey Conservation Foundation had been among the organizations that supported the initiative.

“Your resolution is the vital beginning of a new phase in land preservation for the Ridge,” said Save Princeton Ridge member Daniel A. Harris in a prepared statement. “No one expects the road to be short or uncomplicated. But your support for the preservation of this area will make some solutions more accessible; and it will send important messages.”

In the absence of both Mayor Bernie Miller and Deputy Mayor Chad Goerner, Committeeman Lance Liverman presided over Monday evening’s meeting, which also saw the passage of a resolution approving the 2010 application for $28,020 in Municipal Alliance funding to support Corner House programming, and approval of a contract with United Bowhunters of New Jersey for the 2009-2010 Deer Management Program. Township attorney Ed Schmierer reported that the terms of the contract had incorporated the Township Wildlife Committee’s recommendation that hunting time in the Autumn Hill and Woodfield Reservations be reduced from five to three months, because of the minimal numbers of deer “taken” at those sites in the past.

The sluggish economy was cited as the reason for the relatively low price ($135,000) the Township was able to negotiate with the New Jersey American Water Company for the installation of a new water main on Quaker Road. As a result of the Committee’s approval of the contract, the stretch of Quaker Road (County Route 533), between Mercer Road and Quakerbridge Road will be closed on Thursday, August 20, and Friday August 21, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The roadway will also be closed in one lane with alternating traffic on Wednesday, August 19, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The detour route will be Mercer Road to Province Line Road to Quakerbridge Road. The scheduled closure is dependent on weather conditions and other unforeseen factors.

The Committee also passed a bond ordinance for “various capital improvements,” appropriating an aggregate amount of $3,816,834 and authorizing the issuance by the Township of $3,377,422 in bonds or notes for partial financing. Distinguishing the capital budget from the annual budget as being “composed of items that have a useful life of five years or more,” Township Administrator Jim Pascale noted that projects to be supported were identified in collaboration with the Borough, and “crossed departmental lines.” They include replacing the flooring at the Suzanne Patterson Center; library improvements; Fire Department improvements, seed money to support new pool development by the Recreation Department; road improvements, Police Department projects, and Public Works jobs. A hearing on this ordinance will be held on September 14.

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