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May 17, 2023

Lavender Farm: Trails & Open Space Committee Reports on Community Conversation

At last night's Township Council meeting, the Lawrence Township Trails and Open Space Stewardship Committee reported on the Community Conversation that was held on May 1, an event organized by the Friends of the Lawrence Greenway along with partner organizations: the Lawrence Township Environmental Education Foundation and Sustainable Lawrence. The organizations had reported to the committee on the conversation, and the committee agreed to bring our report to the attention of the township.

Committee representatives conveyed that participants in the conversation mostly favored purchasing Lavender Farm for open space, given the opportunities for passive recreation and enjoyment of nature the new park would provide, though a few would like more information first.

Township Manager Kevin Nerwinski reported that he spoke with the agent managing the property's sale, and said the listing price is an issue which could be the deciding factor, noting that the parcel is "perfectly situated in an ideal location in an area of our town that could really use" a new park. You can watch the committee's presentation and the manager's comments on YouTube (runs about 5 minutes).

May 9, 2023

Community Meeting on Proposal to Purchase Lavender Farm for Open Space

On May 1 the Friends of the Lawrence Greenway along with partner organizations hosted a community conversation on the potential purchase of Lavender Farm as township open space. Lavender Farm is on the Shabakunk Creek, north of Drexel Woods, and would connect to the Johnson Trolley Line Greenway via Hazelhurst Ave. Our partner organizations are the Lawrence Township Environmental Education Foundation (which supports the Anne Demarais Nature Center) and Sustainable Lawrence. The meeting was hosted by the Lawrence Community Center.

Our concept (seen right) would have the new park dedicated to passive recreation and conservation, including a handicap accessible trail and natural areas. The 5.4 acre lot is adjacent to township owned parcels, which would combine to create a 7 acre park, and the Johnson Trolley Line Greenway.

Along with the Lawrence Township Trails and Open Space Stewardship Committee, we presented on the potential new park to the Lawrence Township Council on March 21. Our presentation was favorably received and Kevin Nerwinski, the township manager, is looking into the feasibility of acquiring the property. You can watch our presentation, and the discussion that followed, on YouTube (runs about 12 minutes).

Two dozen area residents attended the Community Conversation. The overall sentiment expressed during the meeting, and via a volunatry survey completed at the end of the meeting, was favorable to purchasing this parcel to use as a township park.

During the meeting, it was noted that the Eldridge Park has only the one, namesake, park and that developing Lavender Farm as a park would “increase the attractiveness and value of the neighborhood.” Also mentioned was the possibility of including a Community Garden area, like that available to township residents near the Lawrenceville School. A resident who could not attend, wrote to support the proposed acquisition, writing about their enjoyment of the “plethora of native birds, multiple deer and the occasional turkey, fox and possums. We believe this beauty belongs to everyone and we gladly invite the rest of the community to enjoy it as well.”

Existing flooding issues in the neighborhood were also brought up. It was noted that the entire parcel is within the 100 year flood plain, and mostly in the 100 year floodway, with the implication that any development, whether for housing or a public park, should be made to mitigate that problem.

Eighteen residents completed our brief survey form at the end of the meeting. The survey form asked, “How do you feel about preserving the 5.4 acre parcel along Shabakunk Creek, known as lavender Farm, as a township park?” with three possible responses. The results:

Favorable: 15 Neutral: 3 Against: 0

The survey had space for open ended comments. Comments by attendees in favor of the parcel’s acquisition included a suggestion to include a community garden, and several comments about usinig the land for native plants and conservation including that it would be "lovely to have this nature resource in our neighborhood."

Comments by attendees who were neutral focused on wanting to learn more on what would be done with the parcel if purchased.

April 23, 2023

Anne Demarais Nature Center Dedication

Lawrence Township ceremoniously rededicated its nature center as the Anne Demarais Nature Center yesterday. The township council renamed the center in her honor at their December 7, 2021 meeting in recognition of her decades of contributions to the community, including the development of greenways and her leading voice in the creation of the nature center.

The Lawrence Township Environmental Education Foundation and the Friends of the Lawrence Greenway coordinated with the township on a successful event with about 100 people in attendance.

April 19, 2023

Township Manager Reports on Potential Open Space

At last night's Lawrence Township Council meeting, township manager Kevin Nerwinski reported favorably on the potential aquisition of the property, known locally as Lavender Farm, as open space. This is the 5.4 acre parcel along Shabakunk Creek that is the subject of our community conversation to be held on May 1.

Mr. Nerwinski, who inspected the site along with the township's Chief Financial Officer Peter Kiriakatis, reported that the property "is strategically placed in a location along the Johnson Trolley Line" greenway, and "it is a good area to acquire with open space funding." Mr. Nerwinski received unanimous support from the five Lawrence Township Council members to proceed, using due diligence regarding the condition of the property, with discussions with the owner.

Regarding the parcel's name. The property was long owned by Willie and Clara Lavender who raised their family there, and ownership has passed to their estate. Although there was farming activity on the land, it was not used to farm lavender.

May 1, 2011
(May 29, 2011 update—new route for walk)

Trolley Greenway Bridge Opening

Lawrence Township will celebrate the official opening of the Five Mile Run Trolley Greenway Bridge on Saturday, June 11. Councilwoman Pam Mount chaired an ad hoc assembly of township committees to plan the event on April 28. The committees include Greenway, Open Space, and Sustainable Mobility. The public ribbon cutting ceremony to open the bridge will be at 10 AM. Activities, including guided bike rides of varying lengths, are being planned.

The Lawrence Township Greenway Committee has announced that its 21st annual hike will be held in conjunction with this event. The hike will begin at 9:00 AM from the Loveless Nature Center parking area on Eggerts Crossing Rd arriving at the bridge in time for the opening. Following the event, the hike will continue onto the "unknown" trails of Central Park, then returns us to the Loveless Nature Preserve. The 2¼ mile walk route is shown on the map to the right.

You can walk, bike or drive to the bridge opening. Parking is available at Central Park or along Johnson or Drift Aves. The bridge is a half mile walk from either area.

The bridge was constructed in mid-November 2010 using a grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Bikeway Grant Program (see Trolley Trail Bridge Funded by NJDOT below). In addition, the township has surfaced the greenway with a stone dust pavement from the bridge north to Rider University, and south to Eggerts Crossing Road, creating a half-mile extension to the existing greenway to the south. Also, by mid-November 2010 the township extended the greenway southward from the previous terminus at Alcazar Ave. to the bridge over the Shabakunk Creek at the Ewing Township border—nearly 700 ft (see the same article and map below). This extension was paved with a stone dust surface as well (see photo to the right). With these additions, the greenway is complete from Ewing Township to Rider University, a distance of 1.5 miles.












Anne Demarais
Anne Demarais after unveiling the sign



Trolley Line Greenway Bridge over Five Mile Run

Trolley Line Greenway Bridge over Five Mile Run on April 30, 2011

Map for June 11, 2011 Bridge Opening

21st Annual Greenway Hike on Saturday, June 11, 2011

Greenway extension to Ewing

The new stone dust path that runs
south to Ewing Township on
November 11, 2010, shortly after


February 22, 2009

Loveless Nature Preserve Trail Blazed

Note: After posting this item he blazes, as well as ribbons used to mark newly planted trees, were removed. So this is an unblazed trail right now. We are considering a different way of indicating the trail that is not so easy to obilterate.

The Lawrence Township Greenway Committee has created a trail through the woods of the Loveless Nature Preserve on Eggerts Crossing Road. The blazed trail, shown on the map to the right, begins near the center of the property and runs along the border between the grove of farmed evergreen trees and the woods. The trail then angles off to run parallel to Five Mile Run and ends at the Trolly Line Trail near the site of the future pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Five Mile Run (see article below). The trail is about 1600 ft (nearly 1/3 mile) long.

This is the first trail that the committee has created using its blaze. The trail will be featured in the trail guide to be published and distributed to Lawrence Township residents by the spring.

The preserve was purchased by the township from former police chief Nick Loveless in 2007. Mr. Loveless, who ran a tree farm on the property, sold it to the township for less than a developer would have paid out of his desire to see the property preserved as open space.

  Loveless Nature Preserve Trail Map
  Anne Demarais points to the first blaze

Anne Demarais points to the first blaze

  Peter Wood marks the way

Peter Wood marks the way


February 9, 2009
(February 13, 2009 update)

Trolley Trail Bridge Funded by NJDOT

The Township of Lawrence has been awarded a $275,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) to construct a pedestrian and bicycle bridge, and connecting paths, along the former Johnson Trolley Line north of Eggert Crossing Road (see map to right). With matching funds to be provided by the Township, the total cost will be $300,000. The bridge will cross Five Mile Run, a tributary of Shipetaukin Creek.

Construction may be completed by this fall. The timing depends on how quickly the township can get the needed environmental permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DOT funds were awarded from their Bikeway Grant Program which supports the state’s goal of constructing 1,000 new miles of dedicated bike paths.

Jim Parvesse, the township’s Municipal Engineer, stated that at least 100 ft of an 8-10 foot wide stone dust path will be constructed along the trolley line right-of-way on each side of the 6-8 foot wide bridge. He is hopeful of extending the paths further than that with judicious use of the funds.

The bridge will establish an important link in the trolley line greenway connecting Rider University in the north to Eggerts Crossing Village and beyond to the south. Currently users must descend to the creek bank to cross.

The township is also applying for a $25,000 grant from the DEP’s New Jersey Trails Program to surface the nearly 700 foot stretch of the trolley line trail from Alcazar Ave. to the existing bridge over the Shabakunk Creek, where the trail crosses into Ewing Township (see map to right). This segment, which will also have a stone dust surface, will connect to the paved greenway to the north to Eggert Crossing Rd.

  Trolly Line Bridge Grant Future Trolley Line Trail Bridge Future Stone Dust Trail Trolley Line Trail crosswalk at foot of Johnson Ave. Future stone dust trail Future stone dust trail from southern end

December 17, 2008

Lawrence Hopewell Trail Routed through Maidenhead Meadows

Plans are in place to complete the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) through the Princeton Pike Corporate Center and Maidenhead Meadows. This includes a connection between the LHT and the Delaware and Raritan Canal. (Map and photos to the right).

Lawrence Township has extended the Brearley Meadow Trail (BMT) to the Corporate Center. Brandywine Realty, owners of the center, will construct a link from that point to their newly constructed road that leads to Princeton Pike. A traffic light is to be installed at the intersection with the pike.

Lawrence Towship has also completed construction of a loop trail and parking in Maidenhead Meadows. The loop trail will be connected to Meadow Road and the BMT via an improved bike lane along Princeton Pike. Wetlands preclude a more direct connection between Meadow Road and the loop trail.

Completing the LHT in this area will be the section from the loop trail to Princeton Pike at Foxcroft Drive. Construction is pending the cleanup of dredge spoils from Colonial Lake that are along the planned route as it approaches the pike.


Lawrence Hopewell Trail via Maidenhead Meadows LHT at entrance to Princeton Pike Corporate Center Future LHT Brearley Meadow Trail connection to Princeton Pike Corporate Center Brearley Meadow Trail at Brearley House Entrance to Maindenhead Meadows Loop Trail Maidenhead Meadows Loop Trail
Route of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail through the Princeton Pike Corporate Center and Maidenhead Meadows. Click on the camera icons to see photographs from those locations. A higher resolution version of this map is available for download. Right click on the link and select "Save Target As..." (Internet Exporer) or "Save Link As.." (Firefox).