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As we enter a new year, we are passionate and steadfast in our commitment to revitalizing downtown Trenton. Our vision is to craft a cleaner, safer, and incredibly inviting downtown for all community members. We fully understand the enormity of this task, and we recognize that the challenges ahead are complex and impact everyone who lives, works, and plays downtown. Achieving this transformative journey requires meticulous planning, collaborative spirit, unwavering support, innovative ideas, and, above all, empathy.
While these words may sound familiar, let's celebrate the many tangible actions that brought a significant and positive change in the past year. The Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) poured its heart and soul into empowering the TDA "Clean Team" with the necessary resources and support to carry out its mission. We've expanded the team and brought on board an experienced in-house operations manager to enhance their efforts. This is fantastic news for our diligent Clean Team, who dedicated over 6,500 service hours, collected more than 17,000 trash bags, and performed more than 18,000 public amenity cleanings within our Special Improvement District.
If you happen to cross paths with a member of the TDA Clean Team in your neighborhood, please extend a warm greeting and take a moment to admire their smart new TDA-branded uniforms.
Last year, we disseminated information across all TDA platforms in our relentless pursuit of reducing illegal dumping and improving trash and recycling management. This was, and continues to be, part of our broader strategy to keep the front of businesses free from unsightly refuse.The aesthetic appeal of downtown Trenton received a delightful facelift with the introduction of new spring and fall plantings, festive holiday decorations, pole banners, and upgraded façades for several businesses. In 2023, we breathed new life into the TDA Grant Façade Program, now offering eligible businesses up to $5,000 for façade and signage improvements. If you're curious about this opportunity, please don't hesitate to get in touch. As of January 2024, there's still up to $20,000 in available funding.
We recently introduced the TDA Start-Up Grant, a valuable resource for budding businesses in our district. The goal is to reduce the burden of start-up costs and reduce retail vacancies in our district by providing up to $5,000 per applicant for eligible start-up costs. Learn more about this exciting opportunity by contacting us or visiting our website.
Our communication efforts have expanded, aiming to keep stakeholders and community members well-informed about crucial topics: downtown developments, available funding and application procedures, new business ventures, TDA services, additional resources, and accessible avenues. We've utilized flyers, postcards, and newsletters and are actively engaged through our social media platforms and website.
Our communication endeavors will continue to grow in the coming year with the exciting addition of a new digital platform. We are thrilled to announce the installation of innovative digital wayfinding kiosks thoughtfully placed throughout the district in early January. Each kiosk includes a district map with critical attractions marked, an events calendar, a news feed, and a space for announcements. What makes these digital signs truly special is their 100% solar-powered nature and ease of updating.
TDA's commitment to promoting local artists and nurturing our vibrant creative community remains unwavering. Last spring we installed nine Seward Johnson Atelier sculptures, followed by a successful, docent-led walking tour. Looking ahead to 2024, we're gearing up for a new public art installation. Stay tuned for more exciting developments
What's more, we're delighted to share our plans for acquiring a dedicated vehicle for the Clean Team, which will enhance their mobility and equipment transport capabilities. We are also eagerly anticipating the arrival of several new businesses in 2024, including Trenton's first official cannabis dispensary and a new coffee shop and cafe, both located on South Warren Street. While we savor the vibrancy on South Warren, we acknowledge the pressing need to ignite positive change in other parts of the district, particularly the vicinity of State and Broad Stree
TDA remains firmly committed to partnering with the City of Trenton and various nonprofit organizations, including those focused on mental health. Our aim is not only to seek compassionate solutions to complex problems but also to secure the resources needed for their success. We are fully aware of the challenges in making these spaces safe and inviting, but we view this as the cornerstone of revitalizing and rejuvenating our entire district.
Through our supplemental police program, we've enlisted an additional off-duty police officer to provide robust support for our businesses, and we've also installed security cameras to enhance safety measures.
None of this would be possible without the incredible dedication and passionate support of our engaged Board members. Join me in welcoming our newest members: Dr. Gonzalo Perez, Quayshaun Williams, and Rob Willborn.
With these collective endeavors and an unshakable resolve, I am confident that 2024 will be a year of transformation for downtown Trenton, bringing us closer to our vision of a vibrant, inclusive, and thriving community that benefits one and all.
As we embark on this exciting journey, I extend my warmest wishes for a Happy New Year, filled with positive transformations.
Bryan Evans, Chairman of the Board
Trenton Downtown Association