A 166-acre property located not far from the Delaware River in Hopewell Township could become home to the capital region’s newest public park.
Although the site of the Moores Station Quarry off of Route 29 is currently utilized by Trap Rock Industries as part of a crushed stone operation, management of the tract is expected to be turned over to the Mercer County government in 2023, prompting officials to prepare for the future of the parcel.
In October 2019, Mercer County issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) seeking a company that will “undertake an alternatives analysis and master planning process to guide the restoration and redevelopment of the quarry property into a county park.”
Located just south of Lambertville at 11 Pleasant Valley Road, the premises are situated in the Titusville section of Hopewell Township near the Mercer County Correction Center and the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.
“The quarry property is particularly significant in terms of park development because of its location in the Sourland Mountains adjacent to the county’s Baldpate Mountain Preserve, as well as its proximity to other preserved open space owned and operated by the state, county, and local non-profits,” according to the RFQ. “Ideally, this new park should be created to provide a different experience from the county’s other parks and be a destination with its own special character, while also fitting in with adjacent Baldpate Mountain.”
Mercer County spokesperson Julie Willmot told Jersey Digs that 11 firms responded to the RFQ.
The chosen landscape architect consultant is expected to help craft a master plan that “would identify potential options for the restoration and redevelopment of the property as a park, while considering the site’s engineering constraints, sensitive environmental areas, township regulations, and the County’s goals and budget,” said Willmot. “Once a firm is selected, it is expected that the master plan process for the site will take at least a year. There will be opportunity for public input along the way.”
The Moores Station Quarry is one of four crushed stone quarry facilities in the region, with Trap Rock operating other quarries near Kingston, Pennington, and Stockton.
The RFQ noted that since “the quarry’s topography and steep slopes pose a potential risk to public safety, the alternatives analysis should address public safety as a critical component.”
However, should these plans continue to move forward, the Moores Station Quarry would not be the only Garden State quarry to have been converted from industrial use into parkland. For instance, the former Lighthipe’s Quarry is part of Essex County’s South Mountain Reservation while Passaic County’s Rifle Camp Park incorporates part of the former UBC Quarry.