16 October, 1987
Planners listen to firehouse protests
By Barbara Preston
Several Princeton planners suggested that Princeton Township and Borough officials consider alternative sites to the Community Park pool location for a new firehouse after about 30 Witherspoon Street-area residents protested Thursday night.
Several members of the Princeton Joint Recreation Board also attended the Princeton Regional Planning Board meeting to oppose the fire-house site.
In addition. about 45 residents signed a petition objecting to the firehouse, which would straddle the entranceway off Witherspoon Street to the Community Park pool area.
Witherspoon Street resident Robert W. Sinkler circulated a petition and he attended the meeting to speak against the choice of the site.
“I say we have a hospital, a police headquarters and municipal building already,” he said. That is enough. If we put a firehouse here, we will be building up Witherspoon Street just like Route 1 is being built up. Go to Mercer Street or Terhune Street and put it there.” Mr. Sinkler requests that the fire-fighters select a new site.
Fire officials arc trying to locate a site for a new firehouse. With the endorsement of the Princeton Township Committee and the Borough Council behind them, they need only the Planning Board’s approval on the Community Park site.
Recreation Department Director Donald Ban also protested the site.
“I am still very concerned about the children’s safety.” he said.
Because of the large numbers of children frequenting the dm extreme caution must he exercised, Mr. Barr said in prepared statement.
Lt. Mario Musso, the Princeton Township Police Department’s former traffic safety officer, reported that about 18 children cross Valley Road each morning and walk up Witherspoon Street, past the proposed firehouse site, on their way to school.
“I think it’s a heavily congested area already, but I think putting a firehouse there is a little too much for one area,” Lt.Musso said.
Kate Litvack, a member of the recreation board and a candidate for Princeton Township Committee, also protested the site.
Princeton officials are trying to put too many municipal offices into an already dense area, she said.
“It would be an overload for this particular location,” Ms. Litvack added.
A new firehouse is needed because the Chambers Street station is located on a narrow street in the center of the congested downtown business district. Firefighters have difficulty getting trucks out during emergencies, according to a 1985 report prepared by engineer Thomas W. Shand of Syracuse, N.Y.
Planner Margen Penick said she is afraid Princeton will have the same problem on Witherspoon Street in five or 10 years as the firefighters presently have on Chambers Street.
“I think it is a great mistake to locate so many municipal offices in one location,” she added.
Ms. Penick said she could not approve the site without a growth projection survey for the Witherspoon Street area.
The Planning Board meeting was still in progress when The Princeton Packet went to press. Planners were discussing another meeting date on the firehouse issue.