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Princeton moves forward with design of turf field at Hilltop Park

The synthetic turf athletic field at Hilltop Park moved one step closer to reality as the Princeton Council awarded a contract to Suburban Consulting Engineers, Inc., to undertake the design of the field and lighting at its April 27 meeting.

Suburban Consulting Engineers, Inc., which is based in Flanders, will perform the task for an amount not to exceed $64,200, according to the resolution awarding the contract to the engineering firm.

Hilltop Park is located on Bunn Drive across from the Princeton Community Village affordable housing development. The 11.2-acre park contains a skate park, a basketball court, a grass soccer field, a baseball field and a playground.

A meeting will be held between Suburban Consulting Engineers and the Princeton Recreation Department, the Princeton Recreation Commission and the Princeton Engineering Department to review the project expectations, the scope of the project and the schedule.

The plan is to replace the grass soccer field with a multi-purpose synthetic turf field that can double as a lacrosse field as well as a soccer field. There will be a chain link fence, benches for players, bleachers, walkways and ball protection netting.

It may also include replacement of the existing lighting with LED sports lighting for the multi-purpose field. If there is enough money, the existing lights at the baseball field will be replaced with LED lighting.

The engineering firm will prepare a set of bid specifications that will be advertised for bidding by contractors. The bid specifications spell out what is needed.

Suburban Consulting Engineers will survey the site for existing conditions, including topography. It will also map out the location of underground utilities, such as water, gas, oil, electric and telecommunications, according to the scope of services.

The survey will map out the existing sidewalks, driveways, walls and curbs. It will delineate the locations of wooded areas and individual trees with a diameter breast height of at least six inches.

Also, soil samples will be taken to determine if the soil is contaminated. The site of the athletic field was historically used for farming.

During the course of its study, the engineering firm will meet with the neighborhood to get feedback on the initial concept design, and a courtesy review with the Princeton Planning Board.

Also, it will present the site plan to the Princeton Council. Another meeting with the Princeton Recreation Commission will be held to review the final design.

The project is estimated to cost between $1 million and $1.5 million. Some of the cost will be covered by a $500,000 grant from the Mercer County at Play grant program.

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