Before moving to Princeton, I didn’t know about the two separate municipalities. The township surrounds the borough like a donut. While they share the schools, library, and recreation department, there are services that are separate, and the lifestyles are different.
Princeton Borough has a vibrant downtown stocked with shops, restaurants, businesses, theaters, churches, hotels, the library, the high school, and most of Princeton University. Palmer Square, Witherspoon and Nassau Streets are the main shopping and restaurant thoroughfares. There are also a couple of mini strip malls on Nassau Street in the Jugtown district. It’s rich in historical sites, and residents are very keen on preserving them. The central business district makes Princeton Borough a commercial epicenter for the area. This definitely causes traffic and parking issues, especially during events and holidays.
Princeton Township has the Princeton Shopping Center anchored by McCaffrey’s in the northeast that offers plenty of shops, restaurants and businesses and free parking, and there are two mini strip malls on Route 206 north of the borough. Part of the university stretches into a southern portion of the township, and places of worship are sprinkled throughout. Many historical sites also call this municipality home. This Princeton has picturesque rolling hills and winding roads, non-working farmlands, conservations, and parks. Carnegie Lake lies in the township with the D&R Canal running through and the towpath along it.
The lifestyles sometimes seem like polar opposites. The borough offers the sophistication of a small city though it’s suburban, while the township exudes the beauty of a charming rustic countryside. Combined, they provide a fantastic town & country atmosphere, and balance each other well. Yet, the contrasting lifestyles result in different necessities for each municipality. With the recent vote to consolidate, some borough residents have concerns that the current township community won’t understand their unique needs.
What do you think? Will there be a smooth merger, or will there be tensions between the two?