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Township Looks At Creating ‘Grandparents’ Park’ At Willow Avenue And New Brunswick Road

The township is considering building a “grandparents’ park” at the corner of Willow Avenue and New Brunswick Road.

The township is considering building a “multi-generational” park at the corner of New Brunswick Road and Willow Avenue.

The park, also known as a “grandparents’ park,” would be built on about an acre of the 24.63 acres of Green Acres open space the township owns at that corner, Tara Kenyon, the township’s open space consultant, told the Open Space Advisory Committee at its Sept. 17 meeting.

Township Councilman Will Galtieri first broached the idea of a park at that location at a previous open space meeting.

Kenyon said the park could provide “people of all ages things to play with, not just passively sitting on a bench.”

Such parks, she said, “help with physical, mental and emotional fitness. They’re good for everyone, basically.”

“Instead of just sitting on the bench and watching the kids play, you can actually exercise yourself,” Kenyon said.

“This is very conceptual at this point,” she said.

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said the targeted area is wooded now, “but it isn’t so densely wooded that you wouldn’t be able to thin it out, and still maintain some of the trees to allow for a canopy and develop the park and provide areas of shade.”

Vornlocker said the area was picked because “there’s a significant population here,” and that trails could be created through the wooded portion.

Among the ideas for inclusion in the park, Kenyon said, are fencing, a “tiny library,” a sensory garden and a dog watering station.

“We want to make it welcoming for people,” she said.

Vornlocker said a public hearing on the project would be necessary because it involves a change in use of the Green Acres property. He said he would hope that could be done in teh first half of 2020.

“We would look to include this in the capital projects plan for 2020, and hopefully, if all goes well and we can get it designed, maybe begin the construction in the fall of next year,” he said.

Vornlocker said a budget for the park has not yet been created.

Vornlocker said he didn’t expect much opposition to the park “because it doesn’t have a large impact on people.”

“This is just a different version of a pocket park,” he said. “Try to meet a need that we currently don’t meet. Could there be a need for one elsewhere? Certainly.”

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