Visions of downtown Trenton

Trenton is a great town, regardless of all of its problems.

With some real leadership it really wouldn’t be that difficult to revitalize parts of  the city, like downtown and the neighborhoods surrounding it.

That’s what I was thinking today as I made my way down State Street from my home in the Broad Street Bank building to the statehouse, where I covered an Assembly hearing on some legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora.

State Street, both east and west sides, was abuzz with activity at around 1:30 p.m., which is a time I usually don’t get to see the downtown streets.  State workers, city residents, and others flooded the sidewalks on a beautiful February day of above-average temperatures.

This kind of activity, of course, usually doesn’t extend too much beyond 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the hours that your average downtown state office stays open from Monday to Friday.  Hours outside of the range are plagued by an eerie silence and emptiness that I am much more used to, since I spend most work hours outside of town.

That emptiness is the fault of the city fathers, who have done little to repopulate the downtown area with people willing to spend time and money at State Street businesses outside of regular workday hours.

The Broad Street Bank building is a step in the right direction, but more effort is needed before the downtown population could possibly reach that critical mass where Trenton could extend the district’s usual workday activity outside of regular workday hours, attracting both city residents and shoppers from outlying areas into downtown.

That will require the Commonwealth Building, the Bell Building, and even the neighborhood crisscrossed by Perry, Academy, and Hanover streets to be rejuvenated and repopulated, which requires diligent government planning and work.

Maybe then downtown residents like myself could be treated to open business, walking feet, and smiling faces on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning downtown, without a need for the state workers that stream out of the city every afternoon and evening.

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