The interest was high, seats were filled, and overflow crowds gathered to watch on closed-circuit television as Mayor Reed Gusciora delivered his first State of the City address at City Hall on Thursday, October 25th. Highlighting the realistic challenges and opportunities facing the city, the mayor called out members of City Council as “exemplary partners” who have the “best interest of the city at heart.” “Our problems are not insurmountable but the solutions involve all of our collective efforts and a positive force from city residents,” proclaimed Trenton Mayor Gusciora as he addressed the sizable crowd. “From my first moments in office, I have been working to bring competency and stability back to city government – this is the only way to restore confidence in our citizens that we are working for their best interests.”
The mayor spoke in detail about finance, water, public safety, education and housing & economic development. He emphasized that Trenton is strong at its core, but that work needs to be done. “I am encouraged that Governor Murphy issued Executive Order Number 40, which commits the State to an active role as partner in achieving Trenton’s vision of revitalization and prosperity, said Mayor Gusciora. “In this Executive Order, Governor Murphy opened up State departments and agencies and asked them to work with us. This will be especially important in our future economic development projects in the City, for ensuring optimum Urban Enterprise Zone dollars, public–private partnerships, Historic Tax Credits, and the like.”
Mayor Gusciora is working in partnership with Mercer County Improvement Authority, Trenton Public Schools, Greater Trenton and New Jersey Future as part of a competitive Innovation Challenge Planning Grant awarded to the City of Trenton by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The three-year grant will help the city plan a build out of Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney Campus as a multi-university collaborative hub and a new research and commercialization nexus near Trenton Transit Center. This partnership will be led by a consortium of all five Mercer County Anchor Institutions of higher education: Mercer County Community College, Princeton University, Thomas Edison State University, Rider University, and The College of New Jersey.
“We want to take on the projects that can become magnets for positive economic activity, projects that will support the City’s redevelopment plans, and add to the long-term ratable base,” said Mayor Gusciora.
The mayor also spoke about being awarded a grant from the National Resource Network, “a five-year financial and capital planning grant to not only help with optimum financial planning but help the us with development opportunities that will ultimately create jobs for the next generation of Trentonians,” said Mayor Gusciora. “This planning grant was achieved through the active participation of Greater Trenton and Trenton Downtown Association.”
“And at Councilwoman Robin Vaughn’s suggestion, we are actively applying for a $3 million grant from JP Morgan for Advancing Cities. This is a great opportunity to catch the brass ring of grant funding, and I hope to have Council’s support in securing this award,” added Mayor Gusciora.
The mayor expressed his gratitude for the 96-member transition team that he assembled, led by Jeannine LaRue, Elvin Montero, and Anne LaBate. “This group has studied every aspect of city government and held countless public hearings to receive public input,” the Mayor said. “I’m gratified with the administrative staff that has been assembled as well as the energetic departmental directors, whether in a temporary, acting or permanent basis. I’ve also been encouraged by the dedication of many city workers across all departments who get the job done for our citizens every day.”
Mayor Gusciora’s closing remarks: “I want to thank you all for your devotion to the Capital City, and I’ll see you around Trenton at a neighborhood near you. We do not have time for the naysayers of negatism. They do not want what’s best for the City. So let’s all roll up our sleeves and let’s all work together. Thank you.”
Click here for a full transcript of Mayor Gusciora’s State of the City address.