The former Miry Run Country Club in Robbinsville has been preserved with the help of a grant from the Mercer County Open Space Assistance Program.

The property, now called Spring Garden Country Club, will be owned and managed by Robbinsville as a new park. The township plans to create trails from the former golf cart paths and provide other passive recreational opportunities on the property.

The view from the old 12th tee of Miry Run Country Club in winter 2018. (Staff photo by Joe Emanski.)

The township will also foot some of the bill.

The 158-acre site is bordered by Sharon Road and Spring Garden Road. It is adjacent to the Trenton Robbinsville Airport, where planes used to land just off the 16th fairway and 17th green. Thirty acres of the old golf course will be used as a buffer between the park and airport.

The site is also adjacent to other preserved lands, and contains wetlands and a tributary of the Miry Run and Mudd Run streams.

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As reported previously on this site, Titusville-based Sethi Development Corporation had at one point planned to take over 24 acres of the site—including Miry Run’s clubhouse—and construct a large banquet hall there. The developer’s application to the Robbinsville Township Zoning Board generated a substantial amount of backlash from residents in the area, who cited traffic and noise concerns. In the face of the public outcry, Sethi pulled its application.

After that, the property sat in limbo for awhile before the township arranged to take it over.

“The township’s hyperaggressive open space policy has resulted in over 1,100 preserved acres since the start of our administration in 2005,” said Dave Fried, Robbinsville’s mayor, in a statement released by the county.

The county’s Open Space Assistance Program is sustained by the Open Space Trust Fund and provides grants to municipalities and nonprofit organizations for the preservation of locally significant open space properties. The grants currently provide up to 40 percent of the appraised value of a property, up to $1.6 million for each project.

The agreement with Robbinsville, which was approved by the freeholder board on April 25, is for $536,000, which represents 40 percent of the appraised value of the property.

The grant program is administered by County Planning Department staff and grant applications are initially recommended for approval by the county’s Open Space Board, made up of County employee and citizen representatives. The County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders gives final grant approval.

The trust fund was established by voter referendum in 1989 to provide funding for open space preservation. Currently, 70 percent of the funds are dedicated to preserving parks, open space and farmland; 20 percent to recreational development and historic preservation, and 10 percent to ecological stewardship. Since 1989, 22,800 acres have been preserved, including 5,700 acres preserved through grants under the county’s assistance program.