WEST WINDSOR, NJ --  The Mercer County Park Commission will hold a final public meeting Tuesday evening to take input on potential changes to Dam Site 21 for recreational purposes.  Through public meetings, forums, focus group meetings, community advisory committee meetings, and an online survey, the Park Commission has sought input on the site improvement process. 

The meeting will be the third public hearing to be held at the Conference Center at Mercer County Community College located at 1200 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  After the meeting, the plan will be available on the Park Commission’s website (http://mercercountyparks.org/#!/activities/dam-site-21) for 60 days for public review and comment.

In an interview with TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville last month, Mercer County Parks Commission executive director Aaron Watson said the county’s plan for the land will “leave (it) better than we found it.”

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“This park will be another jewel in our great park system and will compliment the active park down the street,” said Watson referring to the main Mercer County Park located in West Windsor.  “This park will be totally different than anything we currently offer. It will be another notch in our belt.”

According to the Park Commission, 279-acre Dam Site 21 includes 49 acres of ponds. On the 230 acres of land area, proposed improvements would include:

  • 34 acres of reforestation with several thousand new trees and 64 acres of new meadows.

  • 19 acres of vernal pools fenced to prevent human intrusion and deer browse to protect this important habitat. 

  • Approximately 7.9 miles of various trails, including a 1.9-mile segment of the Capital to Coast Trail. 

  • Kayak access area with parking and restrooms, waterfront boardwalks as integral components of the trail system, and a tree canopy walk that will give birders and nature-enthusiasts a unique perspective of the vernal pools. 

Following the County's presentation of the May concept plan, and in recognition of public comments, the draft plan revisions now includes: 

  • Primary park access will be from Old Trenton Road in West Windsor, secondary access from Line Road in Robbinsville, and minor access from Hughes Drive in Hamilton at the existing Mercer Soil Conservation District office. There is no net increase in parking along Hughes Drive. 

  • The park’s Core Activities Area is located as far away from all existing residences as possible, thereby respecting neighbors’ privacy. 

  • Combs Road will have no major site improvements, strictly restoration to meadows and trails. 

  • Playgrounds will be relocated to the Core Activities Area. 

  • No shared parking or public trails through the adjacent Mercer Technical School. 

  • Elimination of possible future pedestrian access at Clarion Court.

Of the Miry Run Ponds’ 230 acres of land area, only 17 acres, or approximately 7.4 percent of the site, would be disturbed for trails, parking and other park visitor facilities. The site’s valuable natural features will be augmented through the establishment of 34 acres of new forest and 64 acres of native meadow.

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