Hopewell Valley receives funding boost for design planning of new community senior center

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The planning for Hopewell Valley’s new senior and community center will receive a $60,000 funding boost from Mercer County’s $3 million in American Rescue Plan funds allocated to county municipalities for older adults, people with disabilities and veterans.

The county is providing funding to Hopewell Township, Pennington, and Hopewell Borough with allocated funding that totals $60,000 for the design and planning of the new center.

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Hopewell Township will receive $48,000, Pennington will receive $7,000, and Hopewell Borough will receive $5,000 from the county all which will be pooled together to be directly used for design and planning efforts.

Mercer County first announced the allocation of $3 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help municipalities with programs and services for older adults, people with disabilities and veterans in October 2022.

The other nine municipalities in the county are also being provided with funding from the American Rescue Plan to go towards specific projects pitched by mayors, according to the county.

“Our mayors know what they need, and I was pleased and impressed by the depth and breadth of their requests,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said.

“In a perfect world, I wish we could fund each and every project that seeks to touch and improve the lives of our residents, and I appreciate this collaboration with the mayors.”

The new senior and community center would be for Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough and Pennington residents to use.

The proposed property site is located at 1646 Reed Road, near the intersection of Reed and Diverty roads, and is adjacent to the Zaitz Tract.

The Zaitz tract property is behind ShopRite on Pennington Road off of Route 31.

The center would not just serve as a recreation facility for all Hopewell Valley residents, but as the new building for seniors which would replace the Hopewell Valley Senior Center, located on Reading Street in Pennington Borough.

The building, over the years, has been plagued with needed repairs.

The first community outreach meeting for the preliminary programming and design of the center was completed in April 2021.

A second community outreach meeting has not yet been scheduled.

In the first meeting, the draft scope at the time had a proposed enclosed building area at about 70,000 square feet.

Spiezle Architectural Group, Trenton-based company hired by Hopewell Township, presented examples of community multipurpose rooms that can accommodate 100 occupants; a community game room, community art room with a classroom for mixed media; youth creators space focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programming and multimedia content creation, and aquatics programs.

Officials also discussed recreation programs such as sports leagues, open recreation, fitness, personal training and wellness coaching. The primary venues for such programs would be a gymnasium, wellness center and specialty studios.

Community residents have suggested an auditorium or raised stages as other amenities that could be part of the center.

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