Contact John Nalbone (609) 273-4140
Mayor Fried Announces NJDEP Approval for
Second Phase of Reforestation Tree Planting Grant
Project includes 5,771 trees of 25 Species
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – Mayor David Fried is proud to announce the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has approved the second phase of the Reforestation Tree Planting Grant that will be used for a myriad of projects, including construction of a 3.3 mile cross country track behind Robbinsville High School in November.
The grant secures Year 2 of the three-year settlement agreement with the State for the replacement of trees removed as part of the NJ Turnpike Widening Project. The plantings for the first year of the three-year program are substantially complete.
The total amount of the Year 2 Grant is $1,731,307 and will cover all costs for planting and maintaining an additional 5,771 trees in Robbinsville. This reforestation is in addition to the more than 4,300 trees planted during Phase 1.
“We are excited that we can move forward with the next phase of the reforestation program,’’ Mayor Fried said. “A major part of Phase 2 is a state-of-the-art cross country course that will be built on previously preserved open space adjacent to Robbinsville High and Pond Road School.”
The Township submitted a proposed tree planting plan to the NJDEP earlier this year, and the final agreement was executed by all parties on July 16, 2012. Contract bid documents have been prepared and the Township anticipates putting the project out to bid later this month. A separate notice of the request for bids will be published in The Times of Trenton (NJ).
The trees from the reforestation grant will be planted a width of 25 feet on either side of a 10 foot-wide running course to create a forested cross country track. Approximately five rows of trees planted at an offset of both tall trees and understory trees will create a feeling of running through the woods. The track also will incorporate existing woods, ponds and other waterways.
The design of the track, which will built to satisfy high school and middle school track and field standards, was the culmination of efforts from the Township Council, Township Engineer, Public Works Director and Recreation Director and representatives from the school district. The Township also entered into a shared services agreement with the Mercer County Soil Conservation District. Bill Brash, director of the MCSCD, served as the expert consultant for the reforestation program.
“I am pleased that we were able to bring together such a diverse team to develop what will surely become a regional cross country facility that will allow Robbinsville to serve as host for numerous events,’’ Mayor Fried said. “I want to thank the entire team for their innovative ideas and the work they put into this effort.”
When not used for scheduled races and practice the course will be available as a running or walking course for all residents of the Township. Kiosks and benches will be built to provide temporary shelter from the rain for residents using the course. The kiosks will include educational materials about the different tree species, the track and the Reforestation Program.
Another key element of Phase 2 is the ability to use the reforestation grant to plant new trees along the NJ Turnpike on private land, such as Home Owners Association (HOA) property that will allow substantially more screening and noise reduction for residents affected by the NJ Turnpike Widening Project.
“When we first started planting trees in Phase 1, we were told that we could not plant on private property,’’ Tim McGough, Township Engineer and Project Manager of the Reforestation Program, said. “We were able to work with the NJDEP Division of Parks & Forestry to come up with a way to plant the trees on private property by agreeing that the trees would be maintained in compliance with the requirements of the plan, even though they were not on so called “public property.’’ This was a major win for Township residents.”
Trees included in this phase of the program also will be used as part of the sidewalk replacement project, which is currently spearheaded by Robbinsville Township Council President Ron Witt and Vice President Vince Calcagno.
“Using the Reforestation Program for the sidewalk replacement project allows us to provide replacement trees without using any additional taxpayer dollars,’’ Mr. Witt said. “We are extremely excited about this comprehensive plan to help beautify our township at no cost to the residents."
Other elements of the Phase 2 project include additional tree plantings at the Robbins House and along Allens Road to help screen the adjacent properties from the Turnpike. There also will be tree plantings in Windsor Village, on Hutchinson Street and at various locations in Town Center.
For more information or questions regarding any phase of the Reforestation Tree Planting Grant, contact Township Engineer and Project Manager Tim McGough at TimM@Robbinsville-Twp.org.