Lambertville Planning For Flood Prevention & Eco-Friendly Upgrades To Holcombe Park

Plans are underway for the park.

Residents and officials at the public session.
Credit: David Hunt/

What the City of Lambertville is going to do with Holcombe Park has been on the minds of residents, especially after the city won a $308,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

At a recent public session, city residents had their chance to voice their opinion on what upgrades should be coming to Holcombe Park.

The session gave the public an opportunity to check out a presentation outlining the ins-and-outs of the grant followed by a public participation session where residents threw around ideas and asked questions about the property.

Public participation is key for this grant. No one knows this better than Mayor Andrew J. Nowick, who answered several resident’s questions at the meeting. 

“At its most elemental, city government should engage the public as much as possible on as much as possible,” Nowick said. “The NFWF grant has been discussed and disseminated, though this was the first time we had an open meeting about the design elements of the park.” 

Mayor Nowick continued, “We got some great feedback that we can incorporate in the plan. To have these conversations one-on-one is important to me as mayor, and to have them in the public forum is even more important because dialogue among a group of stakeholders can lead to not only new ideas but to increased understanding.”

To find out why this grant is being undertaken, we have to go back three years to Hurricane Ida. 

After Hurricane Ida decimated the city back in September 2021, the conversation around managing stormwater was reignited as fears of future floods caused by climate change grew across the city. 

Since Lambertville is next to the Delaware River and at the bottom of a hill, it’s susceptible to flooding. Mitigating the risk of flooding was a huge factor in applying for and winning this grant, officials hvae said.

City officials believe getting rid of the lawn grass at Holcombe Park and replacing it with eco-friendly landscape–such as trees, flowers, and shrubs will be crucial to fighting floods.

Credit: David Hunt/

Holcombe Park has a hill on its property that stormwater notoriously runs off of and goes into city streets. 

Lawn grass can act like concrete during heavy rainfall. It can’t soak up stormwater. By planting natural greenery in Holcombe Park, the risk of flooding can be better managed, per city officials. 

With the new plantings proposed, spring and summer months when the flowers and trees are in full bloom will provide a natural show. The park’s new look will also attract more wildlife to the park: deer and birds, officials said.

The project is expected to help prevent flooding and refresh the park.

A plan for the park.

During the public comment portion of this session, residents came alive with ideas. A dog park, amphitheater, and educational signage were some ideas they presented.

The city isn’t ruling out a dog park yet, according to Nowick. However, the idea seems unlikely.

Educational signage could be in the works, though, he said.

Any project at the site won’t affect the sledding hill at Holcombe Park, said Nowick. 

Some of the resident’s’ suggestions might be impossible thanks to the conditions of the grant.

Projects using grant funds that are approved by the City of Lambertville Council will have to honor the guidelines set forth in the grant.

The first public session might be closed, but the city will continue collecting data and conducting surveys so the grant serves residents to the best of its ability.

Next, the city will move look to begin the engineering and development phase of the project.

About the author

David Hunt

David J. Hunt is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. A proud alumnus of Temple University, he started out at his college's newspaper and never looked back. When he isn't writing, he enjoys reading, traveling and working out. You can find more of his work in Yardbarker, FanSided and the Chestnut Hill Local. You can follow him on Twitter at @dave_hunt44.

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