MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
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TRENTON, N.J. - A utopian setting for hikers, bicyclists and nature lovers is being created on 1,619 acres straddling Hopewell and Lawrence townships with the development of Mercer Meadows, part of the Mercer County Park System.

Mercer Meadows consists of five separate open space acquisitions, the largest of which contains 812 acres of undeveloped land formerly owned by AT&T and known as the “Pole Farm.” The tract has historical significance for its role in the early days of trans-Atlantic radio-telephone communication. By the mid-1960s it was the largest radio-telephone station in the world before being shut down and disassembled a decade later.

The former AT&T tract, situated between Blackwell and Keefe roads, is being connected via trails to the 472-acre Rosedale Park to the north, the 243-acre County Equestrian Center to the west, and the 92-acre Old Mill Greenway to form the new Mercer Meadows.

The trail links include 4.3 miles of the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail; the 2.4-mile Maidenhead Trail through the middle of the Pole Farm, eventually linking to the LHT; and the Twin Pines Trail, which will connect the LHT through the southwest portion of the Pole Farm to the Twin Pines Municipal Athletic Complex, owned operated by Lawrence and Hopewell townships.

The development of this parkland will establish a passive recreation area featuring walking, bike and horse trails, a cross country skiing trail, environmental education areas, current farmland, fishing in designated areas, and acres and acres of wildlife observation. Limited amenities will be provided to accommodate all visitors.

“Mercer Meadows is an exciting addition to the County’s first-class park system,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “It’s a park facility for County residents of all walks of life to enjoy, whether they choose to exercise, learn about some local history or simply take pleasure in the wonders of nature.”

The master plan for Mercer Meadows includes many interpretive features to inform visitors of the unique telecommunications history of the site and the fabulously diverse nature and wildlife present in the park. The old AT&T communications building footprint will serve as the site of the Pole Farm interpretive hub. The LHT will bring park visitors right to it. And visitors will be able to use their cell phones to learn about international communications in the early to mid-20th century.

Ecological features will be located throughout Mercer Meadows that highlight habitats and convey ecological awareness with park visitors. These will include two interpretive wildlife blinds, a bird observation tower and an insect education walk.

In September, the park identification, way-finding and interpretive signs will be installed. Also this fall, four solar-powered and waterless bathrooms will be installed at various locations in Mercer Meadows. Shade structures, benches and trash cans will be placed along the trails.

Two playgrounds will be installed – one at the Equestrian Center and a state-of-the-art treehouse/playground at Rosedale Park – and both will have universal accessibility. A 5-acre dog park will be created adjacent to Rosedale Park.

Mercer Meadows will also feature a farm history district. All of the fields that were previously used for farming will now be restored into wildflower meadows. The Park Commission and Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space received a grant from Conservation Resources Inc. to perform this task over the next 10 years.

The recently restored historic Hunt House, home of the Mercer County Park Commission, is located along the LHT between the Pole Farm and Rosedale Park on Blackwell Road. The barn behind the Hunt House and the barn at the corner of Keefe and Cold Soil roads will be restored and used for maintenance vehicles and equipment.