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Delaware & Raritan Canal Conference: Highlights & Recommendations. Dr. Martin A. Bierbaum, Director The Municipal Land Use Center @ The College of New Jersey McCauley House Ewing, New Jersey, 08628. Conference Planning. Preliminary Meetings (August 2004 –November 2004)

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Delaware & Raritan Canal Conference: Highlights & Recommendations

Dr. Martin A. Bierbaum, Director

The Municipal Land Use Center @

The College of New Jersey

McCauley House

Ewing, New Jersey, 08628


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Conference Planning

  • Preliminary Meetings (August 2004 –November 2004)

    • Meet D&R Canal Commission Director & Staff

    • Assess Feasibility

    • Identify Stakeholders/Partners

    • Contact Mayors Douglas Palmer, Pamela Mount, Phyllis Marchand

    • Contact Linda & Bob Barth

  • Conceptual Planning Meetings(December 2004 – January 2005)

    • Contact N.J. Historical Commission – Dr. Howard Green, Dr. Richard Hunter

    • Contact former Senator Ray Bateman

    • Contact Mr. Thomas X. Grasso, President, Canal Society of N.Y.; President, Inland Waterways International.

    • Identify & Agree on Workshops– Regional Planning Models, Natural Resource Protection, Healthy & Active Living, Eco-tourism, Trenton Redevelopment, Local Experiences.

  • Logistical Planning Meetings (February 2005-May 2005)

  • Execute Conference Plans (June 1, 2005)


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    The Sessions

    • Morning Sessions–

      • History of the D&R Canal—

        • The Establishment of the D&R Canal State Park

        • The History of the D&R Canal

  • Luncheon Guest –

    • Mr. Ernie Hahn, Director

      D&R Canal Commission

      • “A Status Report”

  • Afternoon Sessions–

    • 6 Workshops devoted to the Canal’s Present & Future Promise

  • Evening –

    • Celebration

    • Speakers (2)

    • Music

    • Food


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    Workshop Findings

    • Regional Framework

    • Healthy & Active Living

    • Natural Resource Protection

    • Eco-Tourism

    • Neighbors & Local Experiences

    • Rediscovering Trenton


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    Regional Framework

    • Drew Comparisons among the D&R Canal, New Jersey Meadowlands and New Jersey Pinelands--

      • a) Similarities:

        • Partnerships are important, e.g., University partnerships, partnerships with school systems.

        • Science-based facts are important to drive policies.

        • Ongoing Monitoring & Evaluation are essential.

        • All engage in balancing economic development and natural resource protection.

      • b) Major difference:

        • The disparity in funding and staff resources available to the three entities is obvious.


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    Healthy & Active Living

    • Presented data to make connections between Lifestyle & Public Health Issues.

    • Employed Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as D&R Canal planning tool.

    • Identified real & potential D&R Canal Recreational Opportunities.

      • Improve D&R Canal access at appropriate locations.

      • Increase signage.

      • Provide ancillary activities and facilities at appropriate locations, e.g., kiosks, rest rooms, compatible retail.

      • Partner with adjacent and neighboring school systems.


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    Natural Resource Protection

    • Recognize D&R Canal as an important Water Supply Resource for Central Jersey.

    • Protect D&R Canal from non-point source pollution.

    • Develop a D&R Canal-related water quality data base, with a baseline and performance targets.

    • Employ a Strategic Approach in acquiring land in proximity to the Canal.

    • Consider a water quality tax to raise D&R Canal-related revenues.

    • Improve public communications to raise public awareness of the importance of the D&R Canal as a valuable natural and cultural resource.


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    Eco-Tourism

    • Ways to make the D&R Canal more attractive for Eco-Tourism:

      • Devise & Implement D&R Canal Eco-Tourism Strategic Plan.

      • Form a Mayors’ Council and State Legislative Caucus to assist in devising & implementing that plan.

      • Market the D&R Canal, e.g., festivals, rallies.

      • Devise and distribute materials that tell the story of the D&R Canal in accurate & effective ways.

      • Locate & advertise canoe/kayak liveries along the Canal, while also exploring the feasibility of other boat types on the D&R Canal.

      • Install boat ramps at portages to create a canoe/kayak trail.

      • Publicize bridges & their elevations on the D&R Canal website.

      • Install swing bridges, upgrade locks.

      • Renovate D&R Canal-related buildings and celebrate the completions of those renovations.

      • Employ a staff person charged with Eco-tourism/ Economic & Sustainable Development responsibilities.

      • Consider a “flush tax” to help fund these initiatives.


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    Neighbors & Local Experiences

    • Means to encourage local beneficial uses of the D&R Canal & improve neighbor relationships:

      • Engage the public through Educational Campaigns, Partnerships with School Systems and Planned Tours.

      • Add Rest Room Facilities.

      • Increase Security at appropriate locations.

      • Address Traffic Congestion, Traffic Calming Issues & Parking issues.

      • Pursue & Secure Corporate Sponsorships.

      • Make the City of Trenton a priority.


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    Rediscovering Trenton

    • Urban Design Studio

      • Explored Reasons for D&R Canal’s Underutilization throughout the City of Trenton

      • Discussed ways that D&R Canal might be used to “anchor” redevelopment in the City of Trenton

      • Identified Four Potential Redevelopment Sites & devised redevelopment conceptual designs:

        • Village Charter School

        • Hermitage Avenue

        • East Section of Trenton

        • Perry Street near the State parking lot


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    Evening Celebration

    • Hon. Gregg Rackin, Mayor, Stockton Borough – Host

    • Former NJDEP Commissioner Jerry English, Esq. –“On The D&R Canal Commission’s Early Days”

    • Dean James W. Hughes, Edward J. Bloustein School for Planning & Public Policy, Rutgers University –“On the growing importance of the D&R Canal as a valuable resource during Central Jersey’s growth during the Post WW II Period”


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    D&R Canal Conference De-brief July 12, 2005

    • Continue subsequent D&R Canal Conferences on a regular basis.

    • Focus attention on the need for stronger commitment by the State of New Jersey, especially the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), to the D&R Canal.

    • Recommend increased funding, while highlighting the disparity in resources among the three State regional planning entities.

    • Spotlight the need for additional D&R Canal Staff, e.g., economic development, land acquisition, public education and City of Trenton Community/Canal organizer.

    • Convene a D&R Canal Mayors’ Forum.

    • Convene a D&R Canal Legislative Caucus.

    • Underline the importance of a Strategic Plan that includes effective strategies, policies, programs and projects for specific D&R Canal segments including projects for particular municipalities.

    • Place special priority on the D&R Canal segment in Trenton, concentrating on ways that the D&R Canal might anchor neighborhood redevelopment.


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    D&R Canal Conference De-brief (Continued) July 12, 2005

    • Devise and implement a D&R Canal Interpretive Signage Program that includes cultural, historical and water quality features.

    • Consider the use of boats on the D&R Canal, along with the improvement of repairs and upgrades to locks and the establishment of liveries in appropriate locations.

    • Establish in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJ DCA) a D&R Canal training session/course for municipal Construction Code Officials.

    • Employ GIS to educate school children and the public about the D&R Canal.

    • Install water monitoring stations at appropriate locations and build a water quality data base with baseline, goals and targets.

    • While acknowledging that communications and coordination are good among the Canal Commission, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Division of Parks & Forestry, improved communication and coordination are always possible.


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    Special Thanksfor Sponsoring the Conference --

    • Clarke, Caton, Hintz – Planning Consultants

    • Delaware & Raritan Greenway Land Trust

    • Ethicon, Inc. A Johnson & Johnson Company

    • New Jersey Water Supply Authority

    • Princeton Forrestal Center

    • Princeton University

    • The College of New Jersey

    • Trenton Country Club

    • View photos of the day's festivities


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    Swimming at the Griggstown Bridge over the canal. c. 1900Courtesy of the Griggstown Historical Society


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