The Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) will see further expansion this year in Hopewell Township thanks to a $200,000 grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY).

Bristol-Myers Squibb, a founding partner and major supporter of the 20-plus mile multi-purpose bicycle and pedestrian path linking Hopewell and Lawrence Townships, awarded the money in response to an application from Hopewell Township.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb has once again proven itself to be a good neighbor to residents of the Hopewell Valley,” said Hopewell Township Mayor Vanessa Sandom. “We will use this generous gift to complete two important road crossings that will allow the trail to extend past the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and eventually connect with the Educational Testing Service campus, where a good portion of the trail already exists.”

Funded by a $200,000 grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb, work crews carve out the newest section of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) near Pennington-Rocky Hill Rd and Bailey Dr in Hopewell Township.  Scheduled for completion this fall, this new leg of the bicycle-pedestrian trail will feature safer road crossings and highlight the historic Whiskey House.

Sandom noted the Township is coordinating with the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SB-MWA), also building its segment of the trail this year, to maximize the cost effectiveness of the project.
LHT Co-President and Educational Testing Service (ETS) Vice President Eleanor Horne said the leadership and commitment provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb have been “amazing.”

“In January, Bristol-Myers Squibb granted a similar amount to Lawrence Township for trail work off of Princeton Pike and now the company has come through with a critical piece in Hopewell Township,” Horne said.  “When you add to this the previous funding provided to the trail, it is no exaggeration to say Bristol-Myers Squibb has gone above and beyond being a good neighbor.  They are doing so much to further recreation, family fun and environmental protection in our area.”

“Bristol-Myers Squibb is pleased to support Hopewell Township and the Watershed as they build their respective segments of the trail,” said Bristol-Myers Squibb Vice President of Facilities Louis Fedele. “We’re proud to be part of this important collaboration of public and private organizations to benefit all of the Hopewell and Lawrence residents.”

In addition to the SB-MWA and its surrounding neighborhoods, some of the connections along the trail loop include Lawrenceville School, the Main Street district of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Township parks, Mercer County Park Northwest, Rosedale Park, the Bristol-Myers Squibb research campus in Hopewell and worldwide pharmaceutical headquarters in Lawrence, Hopewell Township open spaces, and ETS.

“Just saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem adequate given everything Bristol-Myers Squibb has done for us,” said LHT Co-President Rebecca Taylor.  “Our plan is to have over half of the LHT accessible to the public by the end of this year and the remainder open by 2012.  With this kind of outstanding help, we are well on our way to meeting our goals.”

According to LHT leaders, the grant will fund critical connectors of the LHT beyond the SB-MWA.  After the trail route leaves SB-MWA, the targeted segment covered by the grant generally links the Hillman Farm to the historic “Whiskey House” in Hopewell Township.  The safe configuration and construction of two key roadway crossings are necessary if the trail route is to continue unbroken to an already completed leg on the ETS campus.  The two crossings – Bailey Drive and Pennington-Rocky Hill Road – are substantial components and require considerable work to ensure the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

“I’m excited and grateful because this furthers our mission to build one of the finest recreational programs and trail systems in the state,” said Hopewell Township Committeeman David Sandahl, who also serves as the Township’s representative on the LHT’s Executive Committee.  “We are asking the public and private sectors to partner with us to advance our efforts to expand the miles of trails available to everyone who wants healthy living, wellness, environmental preservation and appreciation.  It’s a big part of our emphases on sustainability and improving the quality of life in Hopewell Township.”

Since joining forces in 2002 with Bristol-Myers Squibb, ETS, Lawrence Township, Mercer County, the New Jersey Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, and a wide array of local organizations, Hopewell Township has been an active partner in the LHT’s design and promotion.

Currently in Hopewell Township, a completed segment of the Trail runs along Pennington-Rocky Hill Road on the Bristol-Myers Squibb Hopewell Campus between Old Mill and Titus Mill Roads, providing safer passage to hikers, joggers and cyclists on this very busy stretch of roadway. The trail passes a popular seasonal produce stand and allows users to take in views of surrounding, state-preserved farm lands.