Friday, May 9, 2008

Unimaginable idiocy

We've had some happy days, here in Trenton, over the last few weeks, feeling the huge shift in attitude and power among the people here. Seems that priorities are back on track, and common sense prevails, even if there is a long road ahead.

But earlier this week, we read about a few setbacks in logic and progress that just would not happen anywhere else but Trenton*. One of those things is a redesignation of two beautiful, maintained, occupied historic homes in our ward, on Greenwood Avenue, near the Trenton Train Station. Council voted 5-1 last night to change the wording of the redevelopment plan that would allow those homes (and a nearby gas station, too) to be demolished and a 25-story tower erected in their stead.

I'm repeating, for emphasis, the two homes are beautiful, maintained, and occupied. They're historic, and lovely. In fact, every single time — again, for emphasis, EVERY SINGLE TIME — Glen and I pass that spot, Glen comments on just how beautiful the one house — the one closer to the Sunoco station — is.

It is completely unimaginable that council would approve such a foolish change, when this city is RIDDLED with vacant buildings — probably with nearly the same square footage that the developer, Daniel Brenna, is hoping to build at the site of Glen's favorite property. Is there no one on council who can say, "You know what Dan, it's a nice idea you have for that big building on the corner of Clinton and Greenwood, but we're gonna direct you a couple blocks back, over to East State Street, instead, where there are tons of available properties, all very close to the train station"? (or somewhere else in the very near vicinity, where there are available properties). It is completely unimaginable that council would approve such a thoughtless, aggressive change when — HELLO — most of the development plans for this city have wound up failing, and costing the city in the end. These failures costs us more than just money: it costs us our people, our heritage, our spirit, our spine. Many Trenton citizens have lost their homes thanks to development folly, and our elected representatives of these people should know better, for crying out loud.

That corner of Clinton and Greenwood is such an inspiration, and to more than just Glen. For anyone coming off Rt. 1, and heading east, instead of downtown, these properties are among the first that are seen. They're across from a few other lovely, maintained Victorian buildings on the corner. All of the owners here respect the architecture and heritage of those homes, and together have stood tall, amid some fairly serious decay, right nearby. These houses welcome folks to the East Ward, and send a clear message that Trenton is not nearly as bad as many outsiders would perceive.

I like change, and have hopes for Trenton, but firmly believe that can be accomplished without raping the community.


* For some other un-frigging-believeable stories going on nowhere else but in Trenton this week, check out The Front Stoop for details on ousted Police Director, Joseph Santiago's revenge, as the door very literally hits his ass on the way out of town: he's looking to disband Trenton's Vice Unit, before he leaves, making Trenton — possibly — the only city in the nation (and one with a SIGNIFICANT drug trade) without a dedicated vice squad. For news on the administration's smoke and mirrors bullshit surrounding their desire to spend $200,000 on new guns for our police force, when the existing manufacturer has offered to replace the department's guns for free, please check out Ruins of Trenton.

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