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PRINCETON: Fate of Springdale golf course has nearby residents concerned


By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Residents who live near the Springdale golf course went directly to Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber on Wednesday to express deep concerns about the university potentially developing the 101-acre property that it owns.
They fear the disruption that any development would have on their neighborhood and felt losing the golf course would change the character of the town for the worse. Speaking at the Princeton Council meeting that Mr. Eisgruber attended, they urged the school to look elsewhere, this at a time when the school is planning the future growth of its campus.
“We especially do not understand the plan or the potential plan to develop Springdale when the university owns plenty of land to the south of Princeton where they can expand at will to fulfill their educational mission without the drastic impact on the Princeton community,” said Leonard Berlik, of Springdale Road, during public comment.
Lynne Durkee, who lives on the same street, said she and fellow neighbors are “apprehensive” about the communication coming from Nassau Hall. On one hand, she said Mr. Eisgruber had ruled out, in April, developing the golf course or moving across Lake Carnegie to accommodate the upcoming expansion of the undergraduate student body by 500 students.
But then in September, she said, Nassau Hall indicated the “long-term use” of the course “would be to support the educational mission of the university.” The university owns the property and has a licensing agreement with the private Springdale Golf Club until 2036, although there is an escape clause that lets the school end the deal in 10 years.
“From our neighborhood perspective, the communication has been minimal at best,” Ms. Durkee said in adding that none of the school’s consultants have talked to the neighbors. This comes with the university looking to wrap up phase three of its plan next month.
“Therefore, we would like you, Princeton Council members, to understand and acknowledge our concerns before anything critical is decided,” she told the governing body.
Mr. Eisgruber, in his remarks, offered that nothing is imminent, but he did not rule out something in the longer term.
“I don’t expect us to be moving onto the Springdale Golf Course during my time as president,” he said.
To that, golf club president Tom Davidson got some laughs later in the meeting by wishing him a “very long life” and suggesting that the school’s board of trustees “could consider your tenure along the model of an Idi Amin.” 

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