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Issues & Opportunities Report


The full Trenton250 Issues and Opportunities Report ("IO Report) is avaiable for PDF download. Below is key information about how the IO Report can be used.
The following is a report on the issues and opportunities associated with achieving the following Vision for Trenton:
Trenton First: A premier economic and cultural center built on arts, industry, and education.
This vision is community-driven and the result of an extensive public outreach process. From February through August 2014, more than 10 different methods were used to reach out to the community and get their input on what they hoped Trenton would be. The resulting Vision Statement and set of Guiding Principles will guide Trenton through 2042 and serve as the foundation for Phase II of the Master Planning Process.
This report is the product of public meetings (which occurred during both Phase I and Phase II of this project), more than two dozen stakeholder interviews, and extensive review of previous planning efforts, and includes Mayor Jackson’s Transition Report.
The report is principally focused on city-wide issues and opportunities that can be addressed in the following core master plan elements: Economic Development, Education, Housing, Environment, Land Use, Circulation/Transportation, and Health. Readers should note that this report does not claim to account for every issue and opportunity at all scales. Instead, it focuses on those that are appropriate to a city-wide master plan.

Who contributed to this report?

The report is the product of five major efforts:
  • Previous Plans: The Consultant Team undertook a complete review of all previous studies and plans, a list of which can be found here. This effort attempted to cull the extensive amount of information that has been collected over the course of decades, and served as a jumping off point for later investigations. It should be noted that three recently developed documents were included in this review: Mayor Eric E. Jackson’s transition report; the Trenton Housing Market Conditions Study; and the Trenton Economic Market Study. These three documents provided a wealth of up-to-date information.

  • Stakeholder Interviews: The Trenton250 Team conducted interviews with approximately two dozen stakeholders representing city, county, and state agencies; not-for-profits; for-profit businesses and organizations; developers; and public interest groups.  A list of those interviewed and the organizations they represent can be found on the Foundation Material page of this site. This document serves as a public record of the findings from those interviews. However, it should be noted that, as of publication of this document, there remains a small number of outstanding interviews to be conducted. It is not anticipated that these will substantially alter the findings presented here.

  • Public Meetings: A public meeting was held in each of the city’s four wards on April 25th, 2014. Approximately 60 people attended these meetings, along with a large number of volunteers who staffed the event and facilitated the activities. At each event, attendees participated in a number of activities that were designed to encourage discussion and facilitate their ability to communicate their direct experience with Trenton.

  • Technical Review: The Consultant Team conducted its own research. This included, but was not limited to, conducting site visits, examining census data, and creating and analyzing maps (including land use, vacancy, floodplains, traffic patterns, bike lanes, and more). This information helped the Consultant Team contextualize its other efforts and delve deeper into the nuances of critical topics.

  • Public Vetting: A draft of this report was submitted to the public for review and comment. The public was asked to submit comments directly into the google document or to send their comments to the City. Those comments have been attached as an appendix to this report and include what action the City undertook in response.

How is this report organized?

This report is organized around the Guiding Principles. This ensures that the project continues to be driven by the priorities articulated by residents and stakeholders in the Vision Element.
This report is presented in outline format. The reasoning behind this choice is simple: an outline format provides an opportunity for those involved to review an extensive amount of information as quickly as possible. In general, more detailed explanations are provided where issues are complex, contentious, or even controversial. In instances where there was a broad public consensus, the ideas are presented directly.

What are these “Possible Responses”?

Within this document, you will find sections titled “possible responses”. These are not “recommended responses”. Possible Responses are merely the accounting of those strategies, policies, and programs which were raised by those who were interviewed or have participated in the public meetings. They are presented here as starting points for discussion and are an important account of all ideas. They are presented here for discussion and will be considered as this and other planning efforts continue.

How will this report be used in the master planning process?

This report is a tool for the city. The goal is to build a shared understanding that takes into consideration multiple perspectives and opinions. As such, this document provides a common point of departure for a discussion on how best to achieve the city-wide Vision. In essence, this document ensures that all ideas regarding the existing state of Trenton are on the table so that there can be a robust and healthy discussion on how to move forward.
In the short term, the final draft of this document will serve as the foundation for future recommendations related to Economic Development, Education, Housing, Environment, Land Use, Circulation/Transportation, and Health. In the long term, it will serve as a departure point for future elements of the Master Plan.

How should this report be used in future planning efforts?

This serves as an official record of the mutually agreed upon Issues and Opportunities in Trenton. However, it should also be considered a “living document”. As such, all future planning efforts should start with a review of this document. After the appropriate analysis and public engagement is conducted, those efforts should then make suggested amendments to this document, which may include recommendations for new issues and opportunities. These recommendations should be reviewed and adopted by the Planning Board.
Such an approach is vital for keeping this document relevant. As new planning efforts are undertaken, they will view the City from new and valuable perspectives. For example, when the City undertakes the task of creating the Technology element, it may uncover new issues related to broadband access in Trenton that could not be explored in this first effort. Likewise, a group undertaking a small neighborhood plan may uncover larger city-wide issues and opportunities that should be addressed. If this document is kept current, each successive iteration will add depth to the report while ensuring that there remains a high level of agreement on the issues and opportunities in Trenton.