Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 35
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
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Board Postpones Valley Road Decision; Parties Responding to More Questions

Ellen Gilbert

Several days in advance of the August 30 meeting at which the Board of Education was supposed to announce which of two proposals it had chosen for the disposition of the Valley Road Building, the Board announced that it was postponing the decision until autumn.

“The Board had sets of additional questions for each of the two parties representing proposals,” said Superintendent Judy Wilson. “In order to provide time for the Board to receive responses to the questions, the timeline was extended. I expect that the topic will be on the September 27 public agenda for the Board.”

The postponement appeared to be good news to members of the Valley Road School-Adaptive Reuse Committee(VRS/ARC), the group that is responsible for one of the two proposals under deliberation. “We are glad that they are taking more time to consider their decision,” said Kip Cherry.  “They have sent us a list of additional questions and we are in the process of responding to them right now.”

The Valley Road building is owned by the school district, which occupies offices on the first floor facing Valley Road. The rest of the building has fallen into serious disrepair in recent years, and the district is eager to have a new entity assume responsibility for it.

The two competing visions for the future use of the Valley Road building were presented to the Board several weeks ago.

VRS-ARC, a grassroots effort “to prevent the demolition of the Valley Road School Building in the belief that it has the potential to become a valuable resource for the Princeton community,” made its case for restoring and converting the building into “a viable community center,” housing non-profits, civic organizations, and arts and cultural groups.

The alternative choice, based on a recently completed “Analysis of Fire Department Operations,” would entail razing the older part of the building now occupied by Corner House counseling center, TV30, and the Affordable Housing Department, and creating a centralized hub for fire and rescue services. If this plan flies, the Affordable Housing office would move across the street to the Township’s municipal building; the outcome for Corner House and TV30 is less clear.

“We’re not sure what to make of it,” said George McCullough of TV30. “As far as I know, Princeton TV has been asked to vacate by the end of September.”

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