At the township council meeting last Monday evening, I had the opportunity to listen to many speakers during the public portion of the meeting. What is so important and needs to be understood is airing one’s views in public is a time-honored tradition dating back to the founders. It was also comforting to see a functioning government at work, carrying out the will of its resident stakeholders. You can’t overstate the importance of this fact.

The recent news that The Hopewell Valley Golf Club has closed was a featured part of the discussion. I am a golfer; it is sad that this business failed. Reasons were expressed such as the irrigation system needs to be updated, infrastructure needs updating and the wells may be contaminated. No one mentioned that membership has been down for years, which is a problem for golf clubs and courses, nationally. You know a golf course is in trouble when you can walk on and play anytime without a reservation. Try doing that at Mountain View or Mercer Oaks.

So, what happens now? Ideas about taking over HVGC and converting it into a senior center/community center for little or no cost were aired. All sorts of reasons why and why not were discussed. But here’s the point: A vibrant community such as Hopewell Township needs an all-purpose vibrant gathering place in the form of a community center. A public gathering place such as this would draw residents from all points of the township. A community center with the “Y” in residence, a pool, meeting spaces and perhaps a performance space would support educational and social activities for young and old. But it needs to be placed in the center of the population.

This is not a new idea; townships all over New Jersey have already done this with great success. Residents would not only use the facility they would in fact frequent the surrounding local businesses who would certainly benefit from the increased traffic. Speaking of traffic, it doesn’t matter where you live in the township, we all must get where we are going, traffic is what it is, just slow down please.

Placing a public use facility such as this so far away from where most people live, doesn’t make much sense. I am sure there are better ways to preserve this bucolic and historic open space.

Bill Stolow

Hopewell Township