Today, Congressman Rush Holt and Hopewell Valley officials cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the “Pennington Connection” to the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (“LHT”), a biking and walking trail looping through Hopewell and Lawrence Township.
The Pennington Connection links Pennington Borough to the Pennington-Rocky-Hill Road portion of the LHT and was made possible primarily through a grant secured by Congressman Holt. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s also constructed of a quarter mile of trail linking the existing trail on Pennington Rocky Hill Road to the new section going into Pennington Borough.
“The founders of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail have worked hard for years to plan, fund, and construct this network of recreational trails open to all. The Borough of Pennington has made a real contribution to the livability of the region by linking to the LHT loop. I am pleased to have been able to help by securing $266,760 in federal funds to support the completion the Pennington Connection we are officially opening today,” said Congressman Holt. “In the most densely populated state in the country, we all know how special it is to have so many partners come together to make a more livable community. Like many fortunate enough to live in the area, I often walk and bike on the Lawrenceville Hopewell Trail, which adds to the quality of life of in our community.”
The project was completed in two phases. The first phase, from the Stony Brook Bridge through a large wetland area, was constructed last year and funded largely through federal grants to Pennington Borough. This phase features a 600-foot-long retaining wall, costing $456, 929, with railing necessary due to a sharp drop off in grade along the west side of Pennington-Rocky Hill Road. A $266,760 federal grant secured by Congressman Holt in 2009 is the main source of funding for the first phase. Pennington Borough obtained a second grant through Recreation Trails grant program for $24,700. And the balance was provided by Pennington Borough’s Open Space Trust Fund, supported by the Borough’s 1 cent Open Space Tax.
Beyond grant funding, Bristol-Myers Squibb extended the trail on its Pennington-Rocky Hill Road frontage from Old Mill Road in Hopewell Township south toward Kind George Road in Pennington so that the LHT now spans the full length of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s property on Pennington-Rocky Hill Road, linking with LHT segments on Wargo Road and at the neighboring Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed to the west, Mercer Meadows Park to the east, and the Pennington Connection to the south.
“The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is truly a community-led project that benefits the community. The completion of connectors, such as the Pennington Connector, extends the trail and increases the number of people who can use it safely,” said Eleanor Horne, LHT co-president.
The Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) is a 20+ miles bicycle and pedestrian recreational trail and transportation corridor through public and private lands in Lawrence and Hopewell Townships, Mercer County, N.J. The LHT has grown out of a commitment to improving the quality of life for all who live or work in the region and it supports an active, livable, and sustainable community with alternative forms of transportation to reduce reliance on automobiles. It also promotes health and fitness, recreation, and outdoor education. For more information, please visit www.lhtrail.org.