Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced that he is expanding public input in his strategic demolition plan by creating a more streamlined portal that Trenton residents can use to report dangerous neglected properties directly to City officials.
Trenton recently launched https://trentondemolition.com/, which outlines recently completed demolitions, current projects, and sites under review. A new reporting tool can be found at the bottom-right of that page or accessed directly at https://www.trentonnj.org/reportneglect.
Users can now report crumbling roofs, squatters, illegal activity, fire hazards, vermin, or other conditions that make a neglected property dangerous to nearby homeowners, children, and pedestrians. The properties will then be evaluated by inspectors from Trenton’s Department of Housing and Economic Development (HED) for consideration in upcoming rehabilitation, demolition, or redevelopment efforts.
Mayor Gusciora announced a new strategic demolition initiative in September 2021 that includes the following projects:
- Demolitions for more than 20 properties on Fountain Ave, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Wilson St, North Clinton Ave, Frazier St, and Stuyvesant Ave. So far, the six properties on Fountain Ave have been taken down.
- The City is also finalizing a contract for a project that was just greenlit by City Council and will remediate an entire block of eight hazardous properties on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd between Miller St. and Chadwick St.
- Trenton also has active bids out for 11 imminent hazards all over the city, most of which were reported directly by Trenton residents.
- There are also active bids for a cluster of 29 properties between 6 and 54 Sanford Street that have been a notorious center of urban blight in Trenton for years.
Successful bids for the last two items would still need to go before City Council for final approval.
“Taking down abandoned properties isn’t just a redevelopment issue: it’s key to our long-term public safety strategy,” said Mayor Gusciora. “They can cause fires, injure pedestrians with falling debris, and provide havens for dangerous criminal activity. This new reporting tool will help residents ensure that this issue gets the urgent attention it demands.”
The Department of Economic Development (HED) uses two parallel tracks for demolitions: imminent hazards and long-term strategic demolitions of city-owned properties. Imminent hazards are evaluated and taken down on a case-to-case basis according to their immediate threat to nearby residents and property. Strategic demolitions are targeted based on several factors:
- Proximity to attractive development areas
- History of complaints from residents, subcode officials, and first responders
- Cost effectiveness due to ability to be bundled with adjacent or nearby properties of similar condition
- Location within ‘hot zones’ of historically high abandonment
“We’ve talked with community groups, prospective developers and city planners – they all agree: a vacant lot is much more attractive than a hopeless abandoned structure when it comes to redevelopment,” said HED Director C. Andre Daniels. “By maximizing our resources and focusing on large clusters of blight, we can help bring new jobs and opportunities to where they are needed the most. And community input is critical if we want those efforts to succeed well into the future.”