New lighting to be installed at Hilltop Park’s ballfield

Hilltop Park in Princeton contains soccer, basketball, baseball and a skate park on March 17.

A contract to remove the existing lighting and install new lighting on the ballfield at Hilltop Park has been awarded to Hellas Construction Inc.

The Princeton Council awarded the contract in the amount of $261,772 to the Texas-based company at its July 24 meeting.

The current light fixtures on the athletic field are more than 30 years old and are nearing the end of their lifespan, according to a June 30 memorandum to Mayor Mark Freda and the Princeton Council from Evan Moorhead, executive director of Recreation.

“The new LED lights will provide better and safer on-field coverage for participants, and less glare and spill for the surrounding area. The existing light poles will be reused, so there is no change to the overall appearance of that facility,” Moorhead wrote.

The new lighting is part of the overall renovations to Hilltop Park on Bunn Drive, across the street from the Princeton Community Village affordable housing development. The town received a matching grant to pay for the renovations through Mercer County’s “Mercer at Play” grant program.

The renovations to the 11-acre Hilltop Park include replacement of aging playground equipment with new “inclusive” playground equipment. An inclusive playground is designed to appeal to – and 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.

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

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 on the corner of John Street and Lytle Street.

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.

A batting cage will be installed next to the baseball field. It will be similar to batting cages at the Farmview, Smoyer and Grover parks. Hilltop Park does not have a batting cage.