Great news from Mercer County!
An innovative project to convert a 1950s corporate campus on Carter Road into a public park took a big step forward last Friday, with a land transaction that saves 320 acres from major development.
A partnership of a dozen public agencies and nonprofit organizations, led by New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Hopewell Valley Citizens Group, worked together to purchase land located at the former Western Electric/AT&T property for $7.5 million from owner Equus Capital Partners.
The newly-preserved property will provide land for passive recreation, as well as critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. Plans call for the Lawrence Hopewell Trail - a 30-mile-long regional trail system for walkers and bicyclists - to be extended through the site.
The preservation project settles years of litigation brought by Hopewell Valley Citizens Group challenging commercial development of the rural property. The site had received approval for numerous office buildings totaling 800,000 square feet, roads and parking all on the east side of Carter Road. Traffic studies found it would generate up to 4,000 commuter vehicles a day using the region's local roads.
"Developing this land as proposed would have had permanent impacts on the region, and we're extremely grateful to all of our partners for making this preservation project possible," said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. "This was a massive collaborative effort to settle litigation and create a new public park."
Mercer County and Hopewell Township stepped in early with public funding commitments totaling $3.5 million and $2 million, respectively. "The project could not have been successfully concluded without Katherine Dresdner's persistence and determination, and the support and leadership of Mercer County and Hopewell Township," said Byers.
Thank you to all our members, partners and friends who helped make this possible!
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