Downtown is a critical community asset that can further provide civic, business, shopping and recreational needs. As noted in this plan, the City wants to strengthen this underutilized asset by:
Facilitating the development of more quality market-rate downtown housing;
Supporting the formation of a creative district;
Nurturing retail expansion;
Expanding placemaking, open space, and recreational opportunities; and
Building upon its core strengths of transit-supported character, walkability, and proximity to the Delaware River.
To achieve this, the City and its partners (including Greater Trenton, TDA, TPA, CCRC, and the State of New Jersey) need a detailed consensus-driven Downtown Strategic Development Plan that garners community input and focuses on mobilizing and coordinating public and private investment in accordance with the Vision, Guiding Principles, and Goals identified in this Master Plan. Such an effort should be seen in contrast to the previous efforts that were more design-oriented, including the use of an urban design code. These past efforts were largely unsuccessful, in part, because much of the work was devoted to enforcing the design code rather than developing an overall development strategy for the downtown area and facilitating private and public investment.
In creating this Development Plan, the City should build off the framework identified in the Topic Reports and identify strategic action items necessary for future redevelopment and revitalization. The Downtown District Plan within this Master Plan provides recommended initiatives to be implemented in the district and should be used as a foundation and guiding document. Equally, the previous 2008 Downtown Master Plan may prove informative to the Development Plan.
As the Development Plan is created and implemented, it is likely that the City and its partners will identify new actions that will facilitate (re)development. Examples may include updates to zoning to balance development with transportation demand and parking; updated design guidelines; new or amended redevelopment area designations; new open or public space improvements; and more. To the extent that these efforts require official City action, the City should incorporate them into this initiative.