Princeton officials expect to hold a public meeting in February on the planned improvements to Hilltop Park on Bunn Drive, across from the Princeton Community Village housing development.
The Princeton Engineering Department and the Princeton Recreation Department are collaborating on the project, which calls for a new synthetic turf field, new field lighting and additional parking, Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton told the Princeton Council at its Jan. 26 meeting.
Work on the Hilltop Park improvements is expected to begin later this year, Stockton said.
The 11-acre Hilltop Park consists of a skate park, a basketball court, a grass soccer field, a baseball field and a playground.
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.
The Princeton Council approved a $64,200 contract with Suburban Consulting Engineers for design and engineering services in April 2020.
The council approved up to $10,600 in supplemental funding for additional design and engineering services to incorporate the baseball field into the project in September.
In December, the Princeton Council approved additional funding of up to $11,650 to Suburban Consulting Engineers to explore potential modifications to the driveway entrance into the park.
One design scheme would keep the existing driveway as it is, but a second design would create separate entrance and exit driveways. Both designs would provide a pull-through area with several parking spaces and a dropoff area between the restrooms and the skate park.
The project is estimated to cost between $1 million and $1.5 million, and will be partially funded by a Mercer at Play grant from Mercer County. Some of the cost will be offset by a $500,000 grant from the Mercer at Play grant program, which allows municipalities to build or upgrade recreational facilities.
Princeton’s grant comes from the Mercer at Play Round 2 grant program. The initial Mercer at Play grant program was authorized in 2006, and resulted in more than 30 projects in every Mercer County town. The initial round of funding was $6.5 million.
The Mercer at Play grant program was reauthorized in 2016, with $6 million in grant funds available to Mercer County towns. It allocates up to $500,000 for townships and up to $300,000 for boroughs.