Archive for the ‘Making Trenton Fun’ Category

Revitalization is a dirty job

Of the five major ways to foster urban revitalization;

  1. Facilitating high end real estate development,
  2. Supporting the arts and culture,
  3. Cleaning up the joint,
  4. Squashing the gangs, and
  5. Creating a reason for Trenton to be here,

Only “Cleaning up the joint” can be done inexpensively.

Visitors to Trenton often comment that the city looks “run down” and dirty. Residents agree. Read the rest of this entry »

Community spirit as an economic engine

It’s useful to honestly measure the things that make a city attractive to its current and future residents. Clean streets, low crime rate, diverse retail options, value for the housing dollar and jobs are obvious elements of attractiveness. A thoughtful city planner or economist would measure these things, understand their impact on revitalization and then target spending to get the biggest bang for the buck. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s time to start over on Trenton’s Public Library

Sometimes suggesting new ideas is unpopular. I’m sure this will be one of those times.

Things change. Ben Franklin’s Free Library looked nothing like the ancient Greek library. Nor should today’s version look anything like the Carnegie funded book temples of the last century.

Libraries have a noble tradition dating to a time when books held a much more sacred place in society than they do today. During the golden age of libraries, in the 1700s, books were relatively expensive. Today, most people can afford to buy as many books as they want and do. Also, the Internet has replaced much of a library’s utility as a research institution. Read the rest of this entry »

Capital Park isn’t revitalizaiton and that’s fantastic

If you’re paying attention to this blog, you’ll know that yesterday wrote an article about the best way to spend government revitalization dollars. Many projects are pitched as revitalization but if they don’t have even the punch of my little hypothetical test project then they shouldn’t be called revitalization.

To be honest, I hurried up to get this test written in advance of a review of of Capital Park Master Plan.

Happily the Capital Park plan does not claim to be revitalization but instead is just a very nice state park.

Having not yet read the Master Plan, I expected to read all sorts of claims about how the park was key to Trenton’s economic development. As it turns out, the opposite is true.

Capital Park - theater

There are next to no claims about revitalization.

Read the rest of this entry »

What does an all night art show mean to Trenton?

For Trenton watchers who missed the news that a new arts festival called “Art All Night” happened over the weekend (June 21-22), you need to get your glasses checked. The promotion was everywhere.

“Art All Night” is a free event sponsored by Artworks in Trenton that showcases art submitted by anybody that wants to. Every professional and amateur artists was welcome to submit 1 piece and as a result over 600 artists were represented. In addition: films, bands, art demonstrations and food were part of this quirky art event led by Michael Gumpert and now in its 2nd year.

The event moved to a new space this year, a ~100,000 SF former Roebling wire rope factory and attracted many more patrons (probably double or triple) than last year’s already healthy attendance.

But the question is, what does it mean to Trenton? Read the rest of this entry »