Citizens petition against firehouse

Princeton Packet
16 October, 1987

Citizens petition against firehouse

Witherspoon Street residents are circulating a petition that opposes building a new firehouse near the Community Park Pool and requests that the Princeton regional fire-fighters seek s new location.

“The noise and traffic generated from this site will have an adverse effect on the health and safety of the residents of the Witherspoon community and the school children,” the petition states.

Witherspoon Street resident Robert W. Sinkler is circulating the petition. So far, Mr. Sinkler and his wife have a page and one-half of signatures. they said. They would not give the exact number because they axe not finished circulating, they said. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Sinkler said they want to surprise the Princeton Regional Planning Board on Oct. 15.

“We have no comment”, Mr. Sinkler said.

The petition further requests that the firefighters select a new site.

Fire officials are 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 Princeton Regional Planning Board’s approval on the proposed Community Park site.

The proposed firehouse, which would straddle the entranceway off Witherspoon Street to the Community Park pool area, has many Witherspoon Street residents feeling neglected.

Susan Rodnon, of the 200 block of Witherspoon Street, is disappointed that the street’s residents were not asked about their opinions on the firehouse.

“I feel for the people up and down the street because they are getting shafted,— Ms. Rodnon said. “This is a residential area. Most of the people have lived here like forever and they were never asked for input.”

Ms. Rodnon, who signed the petition, said that if Witherspoon Street residents lived in $500,000 homes, then township officials would have asked for their opinions.

This is a neighborhood that was not really considered because it is Witherspoon Street,” she said, emphasizing the street name.

Ms. Rodnon. who has rented on apartment on Witherspoon Street for the past 10 years. said there has got to be another place for the firehouse.

“That fire horn is going to be a killer,” she said.

The Princeton Fire Department’s Mercer Engine Co. No. 3 plans to vacate the Chambers Street firehouse and move to the Witherspoon Street site.

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 report prepared by engineer Thomas W. Shand of Syracuse. N.Y., in 1985.

Fire officials recommended the Community Park pool site after another site that had been under consideration for the firehouse was turned down by the Princeton Regional Board of Education. That site was the Witherspoon Street parking lot, adjacent to the Valley Road building.

The school board owned the property. Board members said that concerns with parking restrictions, the safety of school children and the need to retain its property for future use were reasons to refuse.

Board President Corinne Kyle said she would not be signing the petition.

“A great deal of thought went into the new site,” she said. “However, I feel the selection process is over. There was plenty of time for every-body to voice their opinions.”

Apparently, some Princeton Township residents feel they were not included in that selection process.

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