The future of a 166-acre quarry adjacent to the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain in Hopewell Township is being mapped out in a series of Master Plan meetings held by the Mercer County Park Commission, most recently on February 23, the second of four scheduled meetings.
The property, known as “Moores Station Quarry,” has been quarried since the 1800s, most recently by the Trap Rock Industries as previously reported by MercerMe. The Moores Station Quarry was acquired by Mercer County along with Baldpate Mountain in 1998 with the intent to create a park. At this juncture, the Park Commission is developing a Master Plan to transform the quarry property into a park after operations cease in the spring of 2023.
“A master plan sets the direction for the park,” said Peter Simone, consultant from Simone Collins Landscape Architecture. “It’s not a working drawing. Once there is a Master Plan they can secure funding and move along the process which will be repeated over the next decade as the County completes this.”
At the February meeting, consultant Sarah Leeper, also from Simone Collins, explained that the final plan will have a combination of ideas from each of three overall concepts: 1) passive recreation; 2) water-centric; and 3) adventure sport. Each concept envisions transforming what was described as a “barren moonscape” to “green and blue” (nature and water). All plans include incorporating the existing mine “crusher” building in a visitor’s center interpreting the history of the mine as well as the ecological restoration efforts in creation of the park.
Passive recreation would include walking trails, outdoor classrooms, fishing access, picnic grove area, passive (tent, carry-in/carry-out, no hook-ups) camping, 8 ½-acre pond at 12 feet in depth, small amphitheater and restrooms.
The water-centric concept also includes a larger 12-acre pond at a max of 36 feet in depth and the possibility of more ponds with waterfalls between them for varied fishing opportunities. This plan includes more traditional pavilions with the opportunity to rent them, swimming, changing facility, and restrooms. There would also be hiking and pedestrian connections to a glamping facility. Other elements include a playground, a collection of historic artifacts from the mining industry including silos. Hiking trails would be dotted with dramatic overlooks and an amphitheatre would be nestled along the water and the quarry face.
The adventure sport concept would include rock climbing, ropes course, zip line, playground, restrooms, BMX bike track and track viewing area, fishing, boat rentals, snorkel trail. The body of water would be smaller with fishing access along the water and an open lawn for informal gathering. The consultants also envisioned a system of mountain bike trails in the higher elevations.
While the two meetings held so far have received some community feedback, there will be plenty of opportunities going forwardto provide feedback, including an online survey
In preparation for the upcoming transition, the Mercer County Park Commission is conducting a public planning effort to solicit input as it develops a park master plan for the site by holding four public meetings. (please confirm with Parks Commission website for time and location):
- Meeting #1 – Tuesday, December 2: project background and brainstorming
- Meeting #2 – Tuesday, February 23, 2021: concept review and feedback
- Meeting #3 – Tuesday, May, 18, 2021: draft plan presentation (followed by a 60-day draft plan review)
- Meeting #4 – Tuesday, October 12, 2021: final plan presentation
The alternative concepts and presentation will be available on the County website https://www.mercercountyparks.org/#!/about/moores-station-quarry-park-plan as well as an opportunity to provide feedback via an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MSQ-FEEDBACk. Please share this article, survey, and associated links with friends and neighbors.
The next meeting will be on May 18 at 6pm.