Municipality of Princeton to mark 10th anniversary of consolidation

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The Municipality of Princeton will mark the 10th anniversary of the consolidation of the former Princeton Borough and former Princeton Township at a special celebration Sept. 28.

The event starts at 4:30 p.m. and will be held at the Witherspoon Hall municipal building at 400 Witherspoon St. A community celebration, featuring food and music, will follow the formal program.

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Mayor Mark Freda, Princeton Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros and state Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-16) will offer remarks.

Freda is the second mayor of the consolidated town. He succeeded former Mayor Liz Lempert, who had served on the former Princeton Township Committee. She was elected as the town’s first mayor.

Freda had served on the former Princeton Borough Council. He also led the consolidation task force.

Zwicker will speak about the benefits of consolidation. Since the two Princetons merged in 2012, the Camden County municipalities of Pine Valley and Pine Hill merged in 2022.

The path to the two Princetons’ merger took 60 years to achieve. The question of consolidating the former Princeton Borough and former Princeton Township had been batted back and forth since 1952.

Several attempts were made to combine the two towns, but they were shot down by voters in 1953, 1979 and 1997. Consolidation was raised again in 2009.

In 2010, the towns formed a Joint Shared Services and Consolidation Committee to examine the costs and benefits of merging. The study led to a referendum question on the November 2011 general election ballot. It was overwhelmingly approved by voters in both towns.

But¬†Princeton wasn’t always Princeton.

From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, the land in the present-day Municipality of Princeton was part of several earlier townships.

North of Nassau Street, the land was part of Piscataway Township and then Montgomery Township. On the south side of Nassau Street, the land was part of New Windsor Township – the predecessor to West Windsor Township.

The name “Princeton” appear in 1724, and referred to the small village that made up part of today’s Central Business District. It was said to have been named Prince-Town in honor of Prince William of Orange and Nassau. He became King William III.

Princeton Borough was created in 1813, but it was a subordinate governing unit within West Windsor Township. It became autonomous in 1894.

Princeton Township was established in 1838.

Although the question of consolidation had been debated off and on for many years, the two towns had been inching toward become one town for many years – starting with the public school districts.

For many years, Princeton Borough and Princeton Township had separate public school districts. Princeton Borough incorporated its school district in 1858, and Princeton incorporated its schools in 1875.

The two school districts merged in 1966 and the district became known as the Princeton Regional School District. The school district’s name was changed to Princeton Public Schools in 2013, upon consolidation.

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