Does Princeton need its own community center?

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Officials are seeking input on second Master Plan survey

Princeton officials are inviting residents to fill out a second Master Plan survey to help refine what they think the town should look like in 20 years.

The questions in this survey, which builds on an earlier survey completed last autumn, will help to guide some of the town’s priorities going forward, officials said.

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The Master Plan Survey 2 is available online at http://engage.princetonmasterplan.org.

The survey is part of the overall Princeton Master Plan process, officials said. The first survey was followed by a community open house, and it is expected that a community open house will follow after the Master Plan Survey 2 has been completed.

The two surveys are focused on the broader issues that make up a municipal Master Plan – from land use and housing development to historic preservation, open space and recreation, said Planning Director Justin Lesko.

By state law, all towns must adopt a Master Plan. It spells out a community’s vision for how and where growth should occur. Princeton’s Master Plan was adopted in 1996, and updated in 2001, 2007 and 2017.

One of the questions in the Master Plan Survey 2 asks respondents whether the town should build an indoor recreation center. Some recreation needs are met by using school facilities, but the question is whether the town should have its own indoor facility.

The survey also asks residents’ opinion on whether the town should build a community center. Possible services that could be provided range from worker training or a job bank, homeless assessment services, meeting spaces, a community kitchen and food bank, or as an emergency shelter.

Respondents also are asked to weigh in on steps that could be taken to create more housing that would be affordable to middle-income households.

The survey lists several possibilities – from allowing some single-family houses to be subdivided into multiple units to making it easier to subdivide larger residential lots to accommodate new housing, or allowing for taller buildings to create more apartments.

The survey also zeroes in on potential uses for four large, undeveloped or underutilized properties in town. The potential uses include housing, schools, offices, open space or recreation, retail, a supermarket and possibly municipal or public facilities.

The four properties include the former Westminster Choir College campus on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Walnut Lane; and the former Valley Road School on the corner of Witherspoon Street and Valley Road.

Also, the Butler Tract, which is bordered by South Harrison Street, Hartley Avenue and Sycamore Road, and the TCP Jasna Polana golf course, bordered by Province Line Road and Route 206, are under consideration for potential redevelopment.

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