Officials, Community Members participate in Ribbon-Cutting of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail at Mercer Meadows
(HOPEWELL, N.J.) — When Mercer County government and park officials began developing a master plan for a series of parks nestled in Lawrence and Hopewell Townships several years ago, they knew it would be important to connect key elements through a trail system. Simultaneously, the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Board of Trustees had been hard at work developing a trail that was to loop through both towns for years.
It made perfect sense, county officials realized, for the Lawrence Hopewell Trail to serve as the backbone for the park trail system. So they made sure the LHT route through the park connected Rosedale Park, the Mercer County Equestrian Center and Mercer County Park Northwest (the “Pole Farm”). When they unveiled plans for the newly consolidated park in 2010, they called it Mercer Meadows and officially recognized the LHT as the trail system’s spine.
Today, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, Mercer County Parks Commission Executive Director Kevin Bannon and the LHT Board of Trustees gathered on the trail to officially cut the ribbon marking the completion of the trail in Mercer Meadows. They were joined by municipal and state officials as well as biking and walking enthusiasts, some of whom started building Lawrence Hopewell Trail back in 2002. At this point, about 85 percent of the 22-mile trail that loops through Lawrence and Hopewell Townships has been built and is open to the public.
“We are very pleased to celebrate the official opening of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail here in the center of Mercer Meadows, the 1,600-acre park featuring wildflower meadows, woodlands, a dog park and the already vibrant Equestrian Center,” said Executive Hughes. “The collaboration between the county and the LHT has served the residents of Mercer County well, offering walkers, joggers and bicyclists access to every aspect of the park system.”
“Mercer Meadows is a very special place,” added Executive Director Bannon. “Many people worked very hard for a number of years to develop a premiere park with five districts – Farm History, Rosedale Park, Ecological, Equestrian, and the Pole Farm – each with unique historical and natural aspects and diverse recreational opportunities.”
Eleanor Horne, LHT co-president, praised the role of county government. “The LHT is an example of what can happen when forward-thinking government officials work collaboratively with a community organization with a bold vision and the tenacity to see it through. The LHT would never have become a reality without the leadership and support of Executive Hughes. With the approval of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, he set aside funding for the construction of the LHT through Mercer Meadows. His contributions to the success of the LHT include much more. His advocacy in the early days of the trail opened doors and gave us a level of credibility that was essential to our ability to attract financial and technical assistance from a number of other sources.”
“Rosedale Park and the Pole Farms were always considered jewels of our local communities,” said Becky Taylor, LHT co-president. “Early on in the development of the LHT, we hoped we would be able to take the trail through the lovely areas and were thrilled to work with the county officials and make that happen.”
About the Lawrence Hopewell Trail
The Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) is a bicycle and pedestrian trail and transportation corridor through public and private land in Lawrence and Hopewell Townships in Mercer County, N.J. The idea for the LHT grew out of a commitment to improving the quality of life for all of those who work in the region. The LHT supports an active, livable and sustainable community with alternative forms of transportation to reduce the reliance on automobiles. It also promotes health and fitness, recreation and outdoor education. For more information please visit www.lhtrail.org
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