Stop Trophy Park - Massive Sports Complex On Prospertown Lake in Jackson Township, NJ

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Problem
Trophy Park is a massive sports complex planned to be built on 200 acres of Great Adventure/Six Flags property in the Pinelands forest of Jackson Township on the southern shore of Prospertown Lake, and would extend west to Hawkin Road. The plans call for clear cutting thousands of trees in order to construct a 6,000 seat soccer stadium, two 98-room hotels, a dormitory and temporary housing for 2,000 players per week, 23 full size athletic fields, a 400,000 sq ft indoor sports facility, an 800-seat dining hall and on-site restaurants and concessions.

We believe the development will pose detrimental effects to the quality of life for residents in the surrounding towns due to extreme traffic congestion and grid lock and will cause severe effects to Prospertown Lake, the Pinelands and the numerous threatened and endangered species that inhabit the forest.

Given that Great Adventure already causes major traffic back-ups and congestion that extends into the back roads of Upper Freehold, Millstone and Plumsted Townships and there currently is a similar sports facility and hotel complex being built on about 100 acres near Route 195 exit 16, the additional traffic caused by this development will cause complete gridlock on Route 537 as well as the surrounding country roads in Upper Freehold, Millstone and Plumsted Townships. As it stands now, residents in Upper Freehold and Millstone are unable to exit their homes without facing severe traffic from Great Adventure which extends to Rte 195 Exit 11 and all major local and county roads (Rte 526, Rte 571, Millers Mill Rd, Burlington Path and many others). The roadways in the surrounding towns are one lane, narrow, winding country roads. Many of them have small historic bridges that have weight restrictions and cannot withstand the types of traffic that they are currently experiencing now. The problems will only severely worsen with the addition of this project.

Environmentally speaking, the project is wrong in so many ways. It is proposed to be placed between two State Wildlife Management Areas (Prospertown Lake and Colliers Mills) and on the shore of a Category 1 waterway and will result in the removal of thousands of trees in the Pinelands forest. Category 1 waterways are protected from any measurable change in water quality because of their exceptional ecological significance, exceptional recreational significance, exceptional water supply significance, or exceptional fisheries resources. The development will undoubtedly alter the existing water quality in Prospertown Lake and the streams it feeds.

Numerous environmental groups recently reached a settlement with Great Adventure and KDC solar which prevented the clear cutting of 90 acres of forest for a solar farm at a site very near this proposal. The results of the settlement reduced the amount of forest disturbance to only 40 acres and an agreement to place a conservation easement on 150 acres of Great Adventure property that would abut this project to the southwest. This project would ruin the integrity of the solar farm settlement and would also severely damage sensitive Pinelands habitat that is home to numerous threatened and endangered plants and animals. Additionally, the development will create a huge hole in the connectivity in the forest between Prospertown Lake and Colliers Mills.

Solution
This problem can be solved by denying this application and recommending the applicant propose the project in an area that already has the infrastructure (proper roadways, accessibility to mass transit, etc) to handle the type of traffic that will be created. We recommend the applicant take the project to an urban or suburban area with an abandoned strip mall and/or old industrial site that is in need of redevelopment.

Personal story
My name is Marc Covitz. I am the President of the Crosswicks-Doctors Creek Watershed Association, former Chairman of the Upper Freehold Township Environmental Advisory Committee and a resident of the Cream Ridge section of Upper Freehold Township since 2001. I am an advocate for maintaining the rural character of Upper Freehold and the entire Crosswicks-Doctors Creek Watershed which includes much of the Monmouth County Panhandle, northern Ocean County and portions of northern Burlington and southern Mercer Counties.