TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and Princeton Borough Councilman Andrew Koontz were joined today by local residents as they cut a ribbon to open the borough's improved and upgraded Potts Park.
The park, located at the intersection of Tee Ar Place and Erdman Avenue, was created in 1960 after the land was donated by a local developer, Theodore R. Potts, in the mid-1950s. Despite its small size and the fact that the park is tucked away in a neighborhood in the eastern section of Princeton Borough, it is heavily utilized by local residents and was in need of major upgrades.
After assessing the park's needs, borough officials last year applied for funding for improvements through the County's "Mercer at Play" program, a matching grant program initiated by Hughes in 2006 that encourages municipalities to join together to rehabilitate or create athletic fields or active recreation facilities. Municipalities can also receive individual, partial matching grants from the County for new active recreation projects.
"This whole project was done in the spirit of what Mercer at Play is all about," said Hughes. "This park will get even more use now, and it was reborn through the collaboration of Princeton Borough employees and Princeton Township employees who worked as one. The residents here will enjoy this new park for years to come."
Hughes also thanked the members of the neighborhoods surrounding the park and the many residents in attendance for their upkeep efforts throughout the past five decades.
The park was outfitted with a variety of new equipment, including a new slide, new sandbox, new swings, benches, and other recreational pieces. The park's basketball court was also resurfaced and new basketball goals were installed, while the park also features new asphalt walking paths.
Koontz thanked both the County and Princeton Township for working cooperatively with the borough to complete the project using existing resources.
The project was Princeton Borough's first under Mercer at Play. The project cost $62,510.00, and Princeton Borough and the County each contributed exactly half of the total. Princeton Township and Princeton Borough also delivered in-kind contributions as public works and recreation employees did most of the reconstruction and remodeling.
Mercer at Play projects done cooperatively by two or more municipalities are eligible for a 100 percent matching grant from the County, while individual municipal projects can receive a 50 percent matching grant.
Earlier this year, four towns-Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township, Pennington Borough, and Lawrence Township-combined to purchase the 51-acre Twin Pines Airport, which they will convert into athletic fields with the help of a full matching grant from Mercer County. Last week, the first Mercer at Play project in Robbinsville, which built two new bocce courts covered by a pavilion, opened at the Robbinsville Senior Center.