March 24, 2021

Hilltop Park Turf Project Should be Revisited, Reconsidered, and Reversed

To the Editor:

I was deeply distressed to learn from recent letters in Town Topics that plans are being made to dig up the beautiful green grass at Hilltop Park and replace it with some kind of synthetic turf to make way for a soccer youth club.

I am dumbfounded by this decision. The green “soccer field” is the only green space in the entire park. There is a concrete skateboard park, a basketball court, a playground, a parking lot, and a softball field. The only space in the entire park that makes it a park is to be converted into an artificial soccer field with bright lights around it so that games can be played far into the evening?

Hilltop Park is a tiny little “pocket” park, surrounded on three sides by hundreds of families. Campbell Woods is on one side of it, a beautifully developed neighborhood with many young families and narrow streets. On the other side is Copperwood Apartments, at least three stories high, housing many professionals who need a quiet place to unwind at the end of the day. Across the street is Princeton Community Village, also densely populated. Hilltop Park across the street is the only place these children have to play.

In April 1987, Town Topics announced the completion of Hilltop Park. The article explicitly mentions the investment of this community: “The residents of Princeton Community Village have given a lot in time and effort to raise the money for the development of the park.” It describes it as “a nice park in a lovely, almost rural, surrounding (still) it is worth a walk, a bike ride, or a short drive from anywhere in town to make use of it.”

How can the local residents who gave “a lot of time and effort” to this project not have been consulted about such a drastic change? Have our elected leaders actually visited this small area and seen how it would utterly destroy the character of the park as a park? Have they considered the ecological impact? The traffic, lights, and noise that would intrude on a quiet neighborhood?

I am just heartsick about this decision. I believe that it needs to be revisited, reconsidered, and reversed.

Deborah Hunsinger
Ross Stevenson Circle