Trenton, New Jersey has seen better days, and like many cities around the country, there are people looking to revitalize their hometown. In the case of Trenton, that effort will be made, at least in part, by the newly formed Greater Trenton, an independent non-profit formed to help promote and fund economic development and revitalization projects.
The group was the brainchild of a group of Princeton students and has been three years in the making. And it has a pretty impressive roster of supporters and founding board members. The non-profit recently became official, so the organization will need to find an executive director and staff.
That staff will help to coordinate economic development projects in downtown Trenton and engage downtown stakeholders to get on board with new projects. They also need to obtain investors for those projects and finding tenants to occupy new spaces in the downtown area. They’ll also be working to insure that these projects are clean and safe. It’s a tall order.
During the development, the people behind Greater Trenton have been doing their homework. They’ve been looking at cities across the nation, like Detroit, West Philadelphia, Providence, or Camden, and seeing what those cities have done well, and where they’ve failed, in their own revitalization efforts. They’re picking and choosing the best and most successful ideas, and then tweaking them to work in Trenton. They realize that every city is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses, and that trying to apply a cookie-cutter approach won’t help.
So far, they have a five-year, $2 million commitment from their various backers to get the ball rolling. With any luck, and with a lot of hard work, they should be able to do a lot of good for the city.