The first phase of development of a new passive-recreation Mercer County park is underway.
Dredging of the 50-acre lake at what is known as Miry Run’s Dam Site 21 began Nov. 1. Located in Hamilton, Robbinsville and West Windsor, the 279-acre property was acquired by Mercer County in the late 1970s in order to build a dam to reduce downstream flooding and to develop the land into a publicly accessible park. The dredging will rid the lake bed of weeds, debris and sediment that has built up over the years, and improve access for boating and fishing, according to Mercer County officials.
“One of our longstanding goals was to take this diamond in the rough and create a gem of a park, and I’m thrilled that the Mercer County Park Commission’s plan is advancing,” Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said.
The lake improvements are part of a larger Park Master Plan for the site, which was adopted by the Mercer County Park Commission in 2020.
“The goal of our Master Plan is to make the largely hidden public site more accessible to County residents,” said Mercer County Park Commission Executive Director Aaron T. Watson. “But the first step in implementing our plan is to improve the lake’s flood capacity, water quality, wildlife habitat, and accessibility.”
After four years of planning, design, and permitting, the Park Commission recently awarded a contract to Capela Construction, which will begin lowering the lake and complete the dredging over the winter. During the course of this cleanup, there will be no public access to the lake area until the project is complete.
The larger Master Plan for Dam Site 21 calls for trails, parking and other park visitor facilities, and the conversion of farm fields into new natural areas for birds and other wildlife. When complete, the site’s natural features will be augmented through the establishment of up to 34 acres of new forest, which will contain an estimated 14,000 new trees, and 64 acres of new native meadows.
The Master Plan for the site, developed with Simone Collins Landscape Architecture and Princeton Hydro, was awarded the 2021 Chapter Award from the New Jersey Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects.
For more information on the development of Dam Site 21, go to https://www.mercercounty.org/home/showpublisheddocument/24870/638066292391570000