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East District

What Is A District Report?


The District Plans provide information on where some of the recommendations made in the reports should be applied in each planning district. These Plans are ideal for those who are particularly concerned about how the City will implement the Master Plan in their district or ward.

The District Plans include initiatives and actions from reports that the City has completed to date.  Therefore, there may be some issues, such as public safety, which the City has not yet addressed in sufficient detail. As funding becomes available, the City will undertake the additional reports and amend the Master Plan

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East Trenton success is based on rebuilding strong neighborhoods by reinforcing the area’s urban qualities: dense single-family housing, mixed-use neighborhoods, and highly-walkable streets.


Maps and Additional Information


The following narrative provides detail on geographic specific initiatives and actions that must be carried out in the Downtown. A complete list of all Actions and Initiatives recommended for this District is provided at the bottom of this page. Where numbers are presented in the text - for example:  "Downtown Core (23)" - they refer to specific areas described on the Approach Map. The map below zooms in on the Approach Map and shows recommendations made for the Downtown District.

Reinforce (41) Villa Park 1 & 2, and Wilbur 4

The North Planning District primarily consists of neighborhoods that are addressed within the Develop Housing Toolkit & Implement Prioritized Investment Framework Initiative. Three neighborhoods in this District were identified in the Laying the Foundations for Strong Neighborhoods Report as “strong” or “moderately strong.” These include Villa Park 1 & 2, and Wilbur 4. In these areas, the City should execute the Reinforce Neighborhoods with the Highest Values and Concentration of Home-Ownership Initiative which seeks to protect these neighborhoods from decline and to promote growth in the housing market. This Initiative requires that the City respond rapidly to situations that pose a threat to neighborhood stability and work to make incremental improvements that will drive increased property values. The goal is to ensure that these strong neighborhoods remain so and contribute to the overall revitalization of the area.

Stabilize (36) Wilbur 2, 3, and 5

The City should implement the Stabilize Neighborhoods with the Highest Concentration of Vacancy and Abandonment Initiative in Wilbur 2, 3, and 5. It is these areas where vacancy and abandonment exist in the highest concentrations. The long-term vision of these areas is for them to evolve into vibrant residential neighborhoods once Trenton’s housing market strengthens. The short-term vision in these areas is to reduce the impact of the weak housing market on residents while stabilizing the housing stock so that it is ready for private sector investment when the housing market in Trenton does improve. Once the housing market does improve in these neighborhoods, they should then receive the same actions as those recommended in the Strengthen Neighborhoods at the Risk of Decline Initiative.

Chambersburg: A Priority Investment Neighborhood

Portions of both Chambersburg 1 and 2 fall within the Prioritize Investment in Neighborhoods with Catalytic Potential: Chambersburg Initiative. As noted in the Develop Housing Toolkit & Implement Prioritized Investment Framework Initiative, the Priority Investment Neighborhoods should be the focus of intensive housing and non-housing related investments that seek to make them more attractive to private investment. These areas have been identified because of their unique assets, including location, existing buildings, existing amenities, and/or the existence of successful revitalization efforts. They have the market conditions to change relatively quickly and are likely to have a significant impact on the housing market if they become successful. This means that the City should be working aggressively in these areas to improve the public realm, enhance open space, address environmental issues, and ensure that they are safe.
Chambersburg’s greatest assets are its location, demographics, and history. The area, affectionately known as “the ‘burg”, was once a mecca for fine Italian dining and ethnic Italian culture. Although many of those restaurants have closed and residents have moved out, a growing Hispanic population has added to the area’s vibrancy and cultural richness. As a result, the area offers potential to build a neighborhood that is once again a destination to safely shop, dine and live.
The housing strategy for this area is closely related to the Expand and Support Neighborhood Retail and Support Growth of “Home-Grown” Businesses and Immigrant Entrepreneurs initiatives identified in the Economic Development Report. Since early economic development efforts should focus on reestablishing the area as a food and cultural hub, early efforts are likely to be more concentrated on the areas around South Clinton and South Broad Street. As a result, it is likely that revitalization will begin there and then move towards the northwest.

Strengthen (39) Portions of Chambersburg 1 and 2

The City should implement the Strengthen Neighborhoods at the Risk of Decline Initiative in Chambersburg 1 and 2. According to the Laying the Foundations for Strong Neighborhoods Report, these neighborhoods have low home ownership rates and high investor-purchased homes, signaling high levels of rental occupancy. However, the median sale price is moderate compared to the rest of Trenton and these neighborhoods also have low residential tax delinquency rates and mortgage foreclosure rates. Therefore focusing on sustaining and improving the quality and affordability of rental housing is likely to have the greatest impact in these neighborhoods. At the same time, the First-Step Renter & Homeowner Assistance Initiative, with its heavy focus on creating a Landlord Registration Ordinance, is likely to have substantial impacts on these neighborhoods.
However, the City should also prepare for positive “spill-over” to happen in the northern areas of these two neighborhoods. The following adjacent initiatives and actions are identified as high priorities for the City:
If successfully implemented, these initiatives will produce significant public and private sector investment in the surrounding areas. The result should be that private market investment should begin in the area. If the City has successfully implemented the Strengthen neighborhood initiatives, it is likely that the area will see rapid revitalization. With that in mind, the City should place special focus on working with residents in this neighborhood now to ensure that new investment does not lead to gentrification.

Reinforce South Clinton as Multi-Modal Retail Corridor (50)

Redevelopment of the Roebling Complex and addition of more Transit Oriented Development at the Trenton Transit Center is also likely to place positive market pressure on the multi-modal corridor along South Clinton. The City should consider efforts to targeting the following initiatives to this corridor: Expand and Support Neighborhood Retail Initiative, Comprehensive Capital City Regional Trail Network Initiative, and Implement Complete Streets Policy Initiative. These efforts will work to pair circulation improvements with economic development incentives, which will reinforce this area as a highly connected retail corridor.

Make Chambers Street a Complete Street

Chambers Street has the potential to connect Washington Elementary with the proposed Assunpink Greenway Park. Moreover, it could be one of the few major east-to-west bicycle and pedestrian routes that is not also a major automotive thoroughfare. The City should, therefore, focus on implementing the following multi-modal efforts on Chambers Street:
Moreover, the City should implement the proposed Play-Street-Scape Pilot Project project along Chestnut Street as it crosses through Chambersburg 1 and 2. Chestnut Ave serves both the Carroll Robbins Elementary School and the Washington Elementary School, with Columbus Park in between. By closing this street to traffic, children could play in the street and safely move between school and the park. This street could also serve as a key component of the Safe Routes to Schools Program (SRTS).

Rebuilding the High School

The City is currently in the process of rebuilding Trenton Central High School. This effort should be complemented with the recommendations made in the School Reform Initiative, Reduce School Absences Initiative, and Diversify and Increase the Trenton Schools’ Revenue Sources Initiative to improve educational opportunities for students living in the East District. If the City can demonstrate that students will get a high-quality quality education in Trenton, the prospect of owning a home within walking distance of school is likely to be very appealing to prospective residents. As a result, efforts to improve education are likely to improve neighborhood conditions in tandem with the Reinforce, Stabilize, and Strengthen neighborhood housing initiatives previously mentioned.

Reinforce the Intersection of State and Olden Commercial Center (35)

At the corner of East State Street and Olden Ave, the City should implement the Expand and Support Neighborhood Retail Initiative. This initiative is aimed at exploiting the retail opportunities in Trenton’s residential areas to help create vibrant commercial areas in the neighborhood business districts while filling vacant commercial space. In the East Ward, demand is strong for general merchandise, food service, clothing and accessories, and health and personal care stores. The retailers at this intersection are small footprint businesses, and they are likely successful because of the high volume of traffic that passes along Olden and State. Going forward, the City should support expanded retail in this area while ensuring that it reinforces the character of the neighborhood. This will likely require addressing both loading as well as parking needs of businesses.

Reinforce Hamilton Ave as a Mixed-Use Corridor

Hamilton Avenue is a strong mixed residential and retail corridor. In addition to implementing the Expand and Support Neighborhood Retail Inititiave along this corridor, the City should also update the zoning ordinance to ensure that properties along this avenue are not unnecessarily burdened by excessive regulation that restricts property owners from improving their buildings (see Land Development Ordinance Update).

Rezoning and Updating of Redevelopment Plans

In addition to pursuing the above efforts, the City must undertake a process of updating its land development ordinance and its redevelopment plans. (See Land Development Ordinance Update, Redevelopment Plans: Review and Update, and Redevelopment Plan Reform). This document breaks down the Land Use and Community Form Plan by geography, providing information on proposed zoning, current land use, and current zoning. For more information on how zoning should be updated, see the Land Use and Community Form Plan. Below you can explore the specific Land Use & Community Form recommendations for this district.