By Jayme Race
Editor’s note: The neighborhood park along Washington Boulevard in Foxmoor officially opened Oct. 23, the end of a hectic few years surrounding the lot.
The Advance asked Foxmoor resident Jayme Race, one of the key players in the park’s construction, to reflect on what the park means to him and his neighborhood. His thoughts—and those of other Foxmoor residents—follow:
The new park on Washington Boulevard is a very special, beautiful addition in Foxmoor for residents of Robbinsville and beyond to enjoy. But what does the new park mean to the residents right here in the Foxmoor community?
Before answering this question, a trip down memory lane will help provide a better understanding for what the park really means to the residents.
Our community—home of Foxmoor Master Association, Foxmoor Townhomes, Wyndham Place, Andover Glen and Hampton Chase—was originally developed in the 1985. It consists of 106 single family homes, 994 townhomes, and 576 condominiums.
On July 20, 2011, the Robbinsville Township Planning Board unanimously approved a preliminary site plan for construction of a three-story mixed-use office building with associated parking on 6.2 acres of township-owned property. The property where office building was to be located used to be a police substation, and is next to the Tynemouth Court townhomes and across the street from Wyndham Place. The office building would have transformed the tranquil Foxmoor residential area with a visually dominating three-story building that would have brought increased traffic congestion with it.
What were the Foxmoor residents to do? The preliminary plans for the office building were already prepared. The state Department of Enviromental Protection approved ACT Engineers Freshwater Wetlands Application, which made way for the office building. How do you fight City Hall?
A small group of concerned Foxmoor residents started a petition and collected 920 signatures from residents in opposition to the proposed office building. The residents wrote letters to the editors of the local newspapers explaining their opposition. On Oct. 11, 2011, we filed a lawsuit with the Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton against Robbinsville Township.
Six months later, in March 2012, Mayor Dave Fried told a room filled with more than 100 Foxmoor residents that he decided to abandon the office building plan and leave the land as open space instead. Then, during his State of the Township address on March 22, 2012, Fried confirmed an agreement to transform the six-acre plot into a picturesque park in accordance with Foxmoor residents’ wishes. In December 2012, township council voted to make the parcel officially open space.
After meeting with Foxmoor residents to plan the park in July 2013, Fried detailed the process in his column in the August 2013 edition of the Advance.
“This park is a result of what can happen when a passionate group of residents work in sync with our team of township employees,” Fried wrote. “I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.”
Construction on the park began in October 2013.
This past spring, the Foxmoor Park Planning Group, which consists of resident volunteers, went door-to-door alerting people in Foxmoor about a plan to purchase a sculpture of two children on a bench for the Foxmoor Community Park. Rather than looking for a “heavy hitter” with deep pockets, the group decided to ask for $2, $3 and $5 donations to purchase the sculpture.
This project represents a coming together of the community to achieve a common goal. Everyone is now a stakeholder in preserving this beautiful park.
Thank you Mayor Fried for your forward-looking vision to have a “picturesque park” in Foxmoor; and Tim McGough, Joe Barker and Joy Tozzi for your guidance. Thank you Brian and Michelle of Jerrell’s Landscapes & Nurseries for all your hard work and turning the design into a picturesque park for everyone to enjoy.
The Foxmoor Planning Group members are Brian Shea, David Aust, Debbie Baer, Elaine McCoola, Jennifer Kavanagh, Penny Bolla, Tom Doyle, Vicky Walsh, Diane Kubinski, Marianne Palmieri and myself.