HomePrinceton PacketHilltop Park will soon have new playground equipment, batting cage

Hilltop Park will soon have new playground equipment, batting cage

New playground equipment and a new batting cage – part of the makeover of Hilltop Park – will soon be installed at the 11-acre park on Bunn Drive.

The Princeton Council awarded contracts totaling $664,023 for the improvements at its March 27 meeting. The town received a $500,000 matching grant to pay for the project through Mercer County’s “Mercer at Play” grant program.

MRC Inc. was awarded a contract for $446,851 for the playground equipment and RubbeRecycle was awarded a contract for $188,272 for the poured-in-place surface underneath the playground.

Sunset Creations Inc. was given a contract for $28,900 to install a batting cage and a two-foot-tall retaining wall between the batting cage and the walkway. The park currently does not have a batting cage.

Hilltop Park is across from the Princeton Community Village affordable housing development on Bunn Drive. The park includes a baseball/softball diamond, a multipurpose athletic field, a skateboard park and a picnic area in addition to the playground.

The aging playground equipment will be replaced with new “inclusive” playground equipment, said Recreation Director Evan Moorhead. An inclusive playground is designed to appeal to – and to be used by – children with different abilities, ages and interests.

An inclusive playground provides opportunities for development in five key areas – cognitive, social-emotional, physical, sensory and communication, Moorhead said. A sign board would show the equipment so children who are non-verbal can point to what they want to play on, for example.

There will be something at the playground for each child, regardless of what their ability may be, Moorhead said. There will be equipment on the perimeter of the playground for children who prefer to have a solo experience, and where a child can find a place to play that provides “sensory relief,” he said.

The wood mulch surface under the playground will be replaced with poured-in-place rubber surfacing, Moorhead said. It is similar to what is in use at the Mary Moss Playground. It will create a level surface.

The existing asphalt path that leads from the parking lot to the playground will be renovated with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant surface, Moorhead said.

Also, the lights at the baseball/softball field will be replaced with LED sports field lighting, he said. The new LED lights will be brighter and directed toward the playing field. There will be less light spillage outside of the playing area, and less glare.

A batting cage will be installed next to the baseball field, Moorhead said. It will be similar to the ones at the Farmview, Smoyer and Grover parks. The netting will be removed each winter, he said.

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