Princeton Community Village residents concerned about impacts of artificial turf field proposed for Hilltop Park

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We have been informed that Hilltop Park will be drastically changed with the installation of an artificial turf field used by non-profit football organizations. We residents of Princeton Community Village, one of the densely populated neighborhoods near the park, want to register our opposition.

First, let’s see that the park already has many of the facilities that Princeton has: a play area for young children, a basketball court and skate park for older children, an existing soccer field that is much more environmentally friendly than the proposed one, and one Softball field. Hilltop Park is popular for its open field, which is used by a large number of people around the clock, all year round. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy nature, take a walk, visit neighbors, and find space. We community citizens don’t need land grabbing for a high-tech facility that costs Princeton taxpayers a few million dollars in up-front costs and maintenance.

Hilltop Park is as beautiful as it is, but it’s almost overused now:

1. Today’s soccer field already attracts so many cars that pedestrians are at risk from illegal parking on narrow streets.

2. Residents of Princeton Community Village find their parking spaces routinely commanded by soccer spectators. The new field will significantly exacerbate PCV’s parking problems.

3. The residents of Princeton Community Village (soon to be more than 250 households) love the park. From babies in strollers to seniors, people in the neighborhood make frequent use of the park.

4. A major concern for Hilltop Park’s location is excessive drainage. The slope along Bunn Drive below the park is hardly stable enough for the construction of the last few decades. How can it tolerate the runoff of extra tons of plastic grass and the toxic base underneath?

Overall, what can the Princeton Recreation Department and Princeton Recreation Commission think? How can the expanded soccer field not harm the environment and the community?

We respectfully request the Princeton Council to hold a special hearing on this project and to review the cost of the new football pitch in Hilltop Park. It is not too late to suppress a very bad thing.

This declaration was co-signed by 123 neighbors in the Princeton Community Village.

Barbara De Graff Ajami
for residents of Princeton Community Village

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