Keep Princeton Great
In its April 25 issue U.S. 1 printed a letter to the editor by Marvin Cheiten in which he suggested that the town of Princeton float a $40 million bond to purchase Westminster Choir College from Rider University and thus rescue the choir college from a fundamental change or worse.
What a great idea, and I would like to expand it and suggest the following course of action which will require the cooperation and combined coordination of the following public bodies: the township, Westminster, Rider, and Princeton Public Schools. The latter is in the process of asking for public approval of a $129 million school bond whose major features are renovating the high school and building a new 5/6 school at Valley Road after demolishing the old Valley Road School building.
The town of Princeton should:
1. Close and remove the sidewalks and the black top of Franklin Avenue from Walnut Lane to where it makes a right turn around Westminster’s parking area. This will create an open land parcel of about 30,000 square feet.
2. Sell the above area to Princeton schools for $1.
3. Buy back the entire Valley Road School area including the administration building and parking area from the schools for $1.
4. Sell the Valley Road complex to a builder who will erect residential housing in that area. The price realized will reduce the size of the $40 million bond. The annual taxes on the new housing will reduce the service costs of the new bond, and the new complex will provide additional affordable units.
5. Buy the choir college for $ 40 million from Rider and sell it for $1 to the choir college’s non-profit organization.
6. Agree to float the bond to buy the choir college.
7. Agree to pay part of the bond’s carry costs if the taxes on the new building and other gifts cannot cover 100 percent of the cost of carry.
8. Organize fundraising events to raise money to reduce the size of the bond: the same as we did to build the great Princeton Public Library we can do it again to retain the choir college.
The Choir College should:
1. Agree to become independent and pay part or all of the cost of carry of the bond issued by the town of Princeton.
2. Sell to Princeton Public Schools for $1 a parcel of land of about 40,000 square feet bounded by Walnut Lane, the removed section of Franklin Avenue, the west side of the parking lot, and about 100 feet deep in the open space south of the removed section of Franklin Avenue.
3. Agree to relocate the entrance to the parking lot.
The Princeton Public Schools should:
1. Agree to sell the Valley Road complex for $1 back to the township.
2. Agree to buy the two parcels of land as described above, about 70,000 square feet, and use it to build the new 5/6 school. This move will have the following benefits: It will eliminate the cost of demolishing the old Valley Road School building. It will reduce the cost of the new school having the 5/6 graders use the existing athletic fields as well as the cafeteria of the middle school. After all, the sixth graders are currently part of the middle school.
3. Agree to postpone the bond vote to next year so that all the numbers can be reworked to establish the new size of the school bond.
Rider University should:
1. Cancel the pending sale agreement with the Chinese and sell Westminster to the town of Princeton.
The above is not a pipe dream. It can be done.
Random Road, Princeton
Editor’s note: Perry is a retired financial engineer who worked for Western Electric Research Lab on Carter Road.
On May 4 the Princeton-Blairstown Center held its third annual Links to Youth Golf Outing at Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg. The event raised more than $38,000, enough to send nearly 100 students from Trenton to the center’s Summer Bridge Program, which addresses the “summer learning gap” for at-risk youth. The program is a week-long academic enrichment and leadership development program that is provided free of charge to young people from low-income communities at our 264-acre Blairstown Campus near the Delaware Water Gap.
Seventy-five golfers and dinner guests participated in the event, which included lunch followed by 18 holes of golf, a cocktail hour, a silent auction, and dinner. The winning team included William Birch, John Cook, and Jotham Johnson. The second place team included Michael Chen, Carey Flaherty, Don Seitz, and Michael Seitz, and third place team included Lisa Balder, Evan Calvert, Tong Song, and Alan Wisk, all of whom work for NRG in Princeton.
Thanks to our sponsors: Harris Rand Lusk; Brown & Brown/Sobel Affiliates; Chris Van Buren and Michael Nissan & Yvette Lanneaux; Mark Antin; and Gennett, Kallman, Antin, Sweetman & Nichols, Inside Edge Consulting Group, Inc., Kaduson, Strauss & Co., CPAs, Anne Nosnitsky – Gloria Nilson Realtors, Bruce Petersen, Pinneo Construction, Princeton-Blairstown Center Senior Leadership Team; Suman Rao & Kaushik Arunagiri, Small World Coffee Roasters, and Yorktel. Also: McCaffrey’s Food Markets, Northfield Bank, and Unlimited Silkscreens, Inc.
Without leaders and volunteers there would be no event. I extend a sincere thank you to our 2018 Links to Youth Golf Outing Co-Chairs: Don Seitz and Derek Simpkins, and our entire Golf Committee: Tyler Anthony, Mark Antin, Don Heilman, Travis Heilman, Margaret Johnson, Al Kaemmerlen, Bruce Petersen, Tim Stauning, Sarah Tantillo, Chris Van Buren, Meredith Murray, and Brynn Mosello for all their hard work and leadership. Because of each of you and our sponsors, deserving young people will have a transformative experience this summer.
President & CEO, Princeton-Blairstown Center