Greater Trenton: Revitalization & Resilience
In a bygone era, New Jersey’s Capital City - Trenton - was a bustling industrial center. In fact, the motto “Trenton Makes, The World Takes” has been memorialized on the city’s Lower Free Bridge linking New Jersey with Pennsylvania. But does Trenton have what it takes to make it today? Our panel of experts answer with a resounding, “Yes!” The conversation highlights the vibrant arts scene, the new residential and business development, and Governor Murphy’s commitment to assist in the city’s revitalization efforts.
Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D) – NJ, representing 15th Legislative District
Lehze Flax, Graphic Designer & Board Member, Artworks
Benjamin Delisle, Director, Department of Housing & Economic Development, City of Trenton
George Sowa, Founding CEO, Greater Trenton
"Welcome to Think Tank. I am Steve Adubato. And more importantly, we're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio, talking about Trenton. It is the capital city of New Jersey. Maybe you knew it. Maybe you didn't. But way beyond a history lesson, the question is what's going on in Trenton today? What does it have to offer? What are the challenges that it faces? We have four people who know that... those questions and others very well. First, it is our honor, for the first time, to introduce Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, representing the 15th Legislative District, which includes our capital city. George Sowa is the founding CEO of the not-for-profit organization called Greater Trenton. Benjamin Delisle is the Director of the Department of Housing and Economic Development in the City of Trenton. And finally, Lehze Flax is a graphic designer, a board member of Artworks, Trenton's downtown visual arts center. I want to thank all of you for joining us talking about Trenton. You've had a conversation with us before. All of you are new to us. But more importantly, Assemblywoman, you grew up in this city? Yes. You know it well. You took office in February of 2018. The greatest thing about Trenton today is? Ooh! All of the economic development that's happening, and the spirit of hopefulness to come. Describe it. I said it the other day. The cranes are up. We see before, our plan... What does that mean? The cranes? The Department of Health is going up. We have some... the department, over there, by my office... You mean government buildings? Government buildings with the future of economic development. Private partnerships coming in. And then the sense of housing that's coming back. Working with HMFA, homeownership... Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency? Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. That's okay. That's not the first acronym we've... [laughter] ...heard on here. [laughter] It's my job to just sort of decode that, if you will. Yes. Yes. Yes. Okay, so it's interesting. You're talking about a lot of government activity? Mm hmm. But there's a lot more in Trenton than government activity? Absolutely. Right? Can we talk about the arts community? Absolutely. Vibrant? Yeah. Describe it. Very vibrant. Very vibrant. It's very interdisciplinary. Woah woah woah. What does..."