March 2006 Acquisitions
Landowners and developers for nine parcels comprising a total of 238 acres made commitments to transfer ownership of large portions of these properties to the Township for preservation as open space in contention with applications before the Township Planning Board. Roughly 168 acres were to be transferred to Township ownership and preserved status. These properties are all on the Township’s Open Space Aquisition List. They are:
- Property #38 on North Post Road (98 acres total). 90 acres are to be preserved. Duck Pond Run traverses this property, and much of it is forested.
- Properties #63 and 64 south of Clarkesville Road and north of Princeton Chase (36 acres total). 32 acres are to be preserved. Duck Pond Run traverses these properties, which are also forested and contain wetlands.
- Property #48 west of Penn-Lyle Road (28 acres). The Township will gain a pedestrian access way, but no additional preserved land.
- Properties #69, #70, and #71 on the west side of Penn-Lyle Road (28 acres total). 18 to 19 acres to be preserved, much of it in the West Windsor greenbelt.
- Property #34 on route 571 near Rabbit Hill Road (35 acres total) 20 acres are to be preserved. Much of the area lies within the greenbelt. This property includes land along the Big Bear Brook.
- Property #95 On the south side of 571, east of Lanwin Blvd (13 acres total). Six to seven acres will be preserved as open space.
See FOWWOS News Volume 7 number 1 for more details.
Rogers and Gunther Property Acquisitions
Two important properties were acquired by West Windsor Township in 2005 to be preserved as open space. These include the 13-acre Rogers property in Grovers Mill and the 8-acre Gunther property bordering the Millstone River. FOWWOS was instrumental in both acquisitions.
In June 2005 West Windsor Township took ownership of the 13-acre Rodgers Property on Grovers Mill Road. The long -delayed closing brought a successful end to the concerted preservation effort lead by (then) FOWWOS President Mike Schuit. The property includes a portion of the greenbelt along the bank of the Big Bear Brook. It is contiguous with other preserved woodlands.This property was the Rogers Christmas Tree Farm until 2002, and was preserved in accordance with the wishes of Ron Rogers.
The Rogers property is located on Big Bear Brook across Clarksville Road from Grovers Mill Pond. It not only is an important piece from an ecological point of view, but also has historical significance, having been visited by Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Grover Cleveland.
The township acquired ownership of the property in June of 2005 at a cost of $1.1 million, with FOWWOS and Mercer County sharing in the cost and the Delaware & Raritan Greenway providing technical assistance and helping FOWWOS raise funds. The County contributed $500,000 and FOWWOS covered the remaining $600,000 through grants and more than $110,000 in contributions from 22 families in the neighborhood.
“It’s important, especially in a town like West Windsor that has been subject to so much development of late, that we preserve as much green space as possible,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said.
Longtime resident Ronald Rogers, whose family sold the property, was a co-founder and trustee of FOWWOS before he died in 1999. The Rogers family turned down offers for more than twice as much from developers to ensure that the property would remain as open space as Mr. Rogers would have wanted. Since its aquisition, the land has been used for passive recreation and FOWWOS has constructed low-impact trails to connect the property to other preserved open spaces in the Township.
See FOWWOS News Volume 5 number 3 and FOWWOS News Volume 6 number 2 for more details.
The 8-acre Gunther property is on Joanne Street, off Millstone Road near the Millstone River. To purchase the property FOWWOS applied for and received a $180,000 Green Acres grant, and the Mercer County Open Space Committee also provided $180,000 in funding. The Township covered the remainder of the $632,000 purchase cost with a bond issue.Acquiring the Gunther property was important to the Township’s plan to preserve land along the Millstone River. By acquiring land and gaining access to easements along the river, the Township hopes eventually to create a trail that will stretch along the Millstone River from the Princeton border to the East Windsor border. “The reason this is important – this is going to be a piece of property that will continue what we wanted to do to preserve the riverbank of the Millstone River,” said Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh.
In October of 2005 FOWWOS received a $25,000 federal Recreational Trails Program Grant administered through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and a $5,000 Corporate Responsibility Program Grant from GE Healthcare of West Windsor to fund the development of a trail on the property and others along the Millstone River. FOWWOS and West Windsor Township have worked closely with members of the Mayor’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force in the design and implementation of these trail improvements.
FOWWOS held a public review of plans for improvements to the area, and work began in April of 2006 on a half-mile portion of the Millstone River Preserve Trail near Millstone Road. Those improvements will provide for access to and travel on the Millstone River with the addition of a canoe/kayak launch located near the Millstone Road bridge, a connection of the existing trail to a future small gravel parking lot at the trailhead on Millstone Road, and addition of a macadam path along Millstone Road from the parking lot to the canoe/kayak launch area. “It’s another great example of private/public partnership between Friends of West Windsor Open Space and the township to preserve the roots of West Windsor for future generations,” said FOWWOS co-founder and (then) trustee Dick Snedeker.
The Tindall Farm was preserved in 2003 as part of the Mercer County Farmland Preservation Program. It comprises eighty acres, and could have been developed into 22 single-family houses. Funds for its preservation were contributed by FOWWOS and the D&R Greenway
, as well as by Mercer County.
The 22-acre Yeger property (#94 on the township open space aquisition list) is located on Millstone road adjacent to the Millstone River, which is West Windsor’s border with Plainsboro. This property is an important link in the series of properties along the river known as the Millstone River Greenway. It also contains upland forest, including stands of oaks, as well as wetlands. It is a habitat for abundant wildlife. It is located near the famed “Martian Landing Site” in Grovers Mill. It was also preserved in 2003 with the help of FOWWOS and FOWWOS members, and from the Township, County, and State governments, and the D & R Greenway
See the FOWWOS News volume 5 numbers 1 & 2, and volume 4 number 1, for more details on the Tindall and Yeger properties.
Y & R Associates
In 2002 FOWWOS contributed $50,000 towards the purchase of this 22-acre tract along the Millstone river. Other funds came from the State of New Jersey, the government of Mercer County, West Windsor Township, and the D & R Greenway. The property had been zoned and approved for the construction of six houses. (See FOWWOS News Vol. 3 No. 1 for more details.)
In January 2001 The Township ratified the purchase of two parcels, totaling 213 acres, located along Meadow Road, from the Maneely Partnership. The land included open space and upland and lowland forest areas, and is traversed by Duck Pond Run. The purchase ended drawn-out litigation over the zoning status of these parcels.
Three properties, totaling over 63 acres, were announced as having been purchased by the the Township from the Oleniczak family at the same time as the purchase of the Maneely Tract was announced. These properties include important wetlands in the Assunpink Creek watershead.
For details on the Maneely and Oleniczak aquisitions, see FOWWOS News Vol.2 No. 1.
In August 2000 the West Windsor Township Council approved the purchase of ten parcels, totaling 538 acres, from Thompson Realty and associated companies. These properties lie south of Old Trenton Road, not far from Zaitz Park. The deal was negotiated largely by the Township Administrator and (then) FOWWOS trustee Bill Benfer.
In 2000 the West Windsor Township Council approved purchase of the 69-acre Bastien property.
See FOWWOS News Vol. 1 No. 3 for more details on the Thompsen and Bastien aquisitions.
The 93-acre Grover Farm was purchased as open space by the Township in 1994. It was the first property preserved with the proceeds of the then-new municipal open space tax. FOWWOS grew out of the process started with this purchase, and other preservation efforts at roughly the same time.