SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - The Scotch Plains Planning Board will consider an application at its Monday, Sept. 26, meeting at 7:30 p.m. to construct 190 apartments and 10 townhomes on the Bowcraft Amusement Park property (2545 Route 22 West, Scotch Plains). The proposed development reportedly would include 40 affordable housing units (which would help Scotch Plains address its COAH obligations), a swimming pool, a club house, and more than 400 parking spaces.
Bowcraft's history dates back to 1946, when World War II veteran Ted Miller opened a small archery and ski equipment store with a small ski slope on-site. He called it Bowcraft Park. Miller later added an ice skating rink, batting cages, mini golf, and an increasing number of amusement rides in the 1970s, according to the book Amusement Parks of New Jersey by Jim Futrell (Stackpole Books, 2004).
Long popular for birthday parties, Bowcraft featured kiddie boats, helicopter and truck rides for small children. Thrill rides, popular with older kids and adults, included the Galleon Pirate Ship, Crossbow Roller Coaster, Tilt-a-Whirl, Paratrooper, and The Scrambler. The amusement park's mini golf course was paved over years ago to make room for other attractions and additional parking.
The Scotch Plains Planning Board is made up of nine members and two alternate members appointed by the mayor. In addition, the Planning Board hires its own consultants at the beginning of each year when it reorganizes.