Intelligent, Sustainable, Attractive Development in Trenton's Downtown Core
The plan presented by former Governor Christie’s Administration to address the need for new state office buildings in Trenton, offers in equal parts, disastrous planning for our downtown and a huge missed opportunity. In my role as Assemblyman for the 15th legislative district, I have been working hard to turn this around. This battle, in no small part, has inspired my run for the position of Mayor. I want State office building development to move forward, but only once the necessary review and changes are made that will result in a project for which we can all be proud.
Those of us who have examined the State’s plan closely know that It doesn’t conform to the City’s Trenton 250 Master Plan. The State’s plan does not follow State policies for transit oriented development. The required impact studies and environmental assessments have not been done. Instead of recognizing the importance of this opportunity for Trenton, the State’s plan promises more of the same. It promises single-use state office buildings, dependent upon adjacent surface parking lots, even further disconnected from our downtown, which very much needs State employees as patrons! This suburban-style development is planned for the very areas that have long been viewed as Trenton’s best development offerings for major mixed-use projects and most importantly, the tax ratables we so desperately need.
State facility development on this scale doesn’t occur often. In fact, it has been over 25 years since we last saw such significant investment in the Capital. If the State does not actively integrate its plans with what is optimal for the functioning of the city, Trenton’s downtown will remain dysfunctional. If done well, an improved downtown can make Trenton attractive for more business and residential projects.
Because we are the Capital City, some would have us accept the premise that you can’t fight the state. I am unwilling to accept this idea and so I am proud to have fought this counter intuitive project in the State House, and as a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit opposing the plan. As Mayor I would strive for excellence in all major city development projects, and a be firm voice of opposition when State plans are not in the interest of my constituents.
We can get this right. The State’s planners must engage with the City of Trenton, stakeholders, and other interested parties, and together craft a plan that results in the best solutions for both the State Government and Downtown Trenton. Our State Capital deserves nothing less.