Renovations and new business on North Clinton

LaToya Green’s event-planning company will use the renovated space at 615 North Clinton Avenue.

New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) and East Trenton Collaborative (ETC) members, partners, and supporters celebrated the opening of 615 North Clinton Avenue, a long-vacant building in the heart of East Trenton. The building, acquired by NJCC’s real estate arm, Community Asset Preservation Corporation (CAPC), has been redeveloped into a mixed-use space with three apartments (two one-bedroom and one three-bedroom).

The building also has commercial space that neighborhood-based entrepreneur LaToya Green will use for her two-year-old event-planning company, Create A Purpose.

Wells Fargo Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility & Community Relations Wanda Saez, Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson, Trenton North Ward Councilwoman Marge Caldwell Wilson, and NJCC President Wayne T. Meyer participated in the opening.

The program was followed by a building tour, reception, and group holiday activity with children from Urban Promise Trenton’s Camp Grace after school program.

Wells Fargo was the underwriter for the opening program and provided major funding for the renovation project through its Housing Foundation’s Priority Markets Program. Additional funding was provided by NJM Insurance Group, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit program, and Community Housing Capital. Trenton based contractor E&P Resource Group completed the renovations.

NJCC is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides innovative financing and technical assistance to support the preservation and development of affordable housing and sustainable community development ventures that increase jobs, improve education, and strengthen neighborhoods.

The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Priority Markets Program supports projects, programs, and initiatives that help remove barriers to sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities.

The East Trenton Collaborative also recently reported new revitalization efforts on 200 and 504 North Avenue.

Both projects were aided by the organization’s Storefront Improvement Grants, part of a set of initiatives launched by the East Trenton Collaborative to foster revitalization and reinvestment on and around North Clinton Avenue.

The grant program provides up to $5,000 to help business and property owners improve their ground floor retail spaces to make them a welcoming, active presence on the street.
The 200 North Clinton Avenue property is owned by Aaron Johnson, who purchased and is renovating the formerly abandoned property next to his Germirah’s Hair Salon and across from the City of Trenton Police Department Headquarters. Johnson says the property’s store and apartments should be ready in the spring.

The 504 North Clinton Avenue space was purchased by Everton Danvers for the new Five OH Four Jamaican and Soul Food Restaurant. Renovations have been in process with operations set to begin in 2018.

The East Trenton Collaborative also assists East Trenton entrepreneurs by connecting them to training opportunities and helping them to locate potential space and rehabilitate targeted properties. The organization also helps address the look of the neighborhood with trash cans, trees, planters, and targeted improvements to vacant lots.

Businesses interested in the Storefront Improvement Grant Program or entrepreneurship assistance should contact Iana Dikidjieva at 201-758-6475 or iana.dikidjieva@gmail.com.
For more information on Create A Purpose, go to their Facebook page.

Greater Trenton gets greater involvement

Greater Trenton, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic revitalization in New Jersey’s capital city, announced that St. Francis Medical Center has joined its board of directors, adding to Capital Health and a growing mix of organizations including Bristol Myers Squibb, Investors Bank, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, NJM Insurance Group, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Princeton University, PSEG, TD Bank, Thomas Edison State University, and Wells Fargo Bank.

“We’re pleased to have St. Francis Medical Center on board as we work together to meet the goals and ambitions of Trentonians and those who care deeply about the city’s capital,” said Bernie Flynn, co-chair of Greater Trenton and president and CEO of NJM Insurance Group. “Ultimately, St. Francis Medical Center, in conjunction with all supporting organizations, will help tremendously in our efforts to partner in projects and partnerships that result in a vibrant downtown Trenton for residents, community institutions, and businesses.”

Greater Trenton, which was created to advance economic development and revitalization in New Jersey’s capital city, grew out of conversations that began in 2013 among individuals who shared a commitment to the city’s revitalization. After eliciting ideas and aspirations from the community and expanding outreach to new partners and neighbors, the organization developed a 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. More recently it organized the city’s proposal to host Amazon’s HQ2 development.

For more information, go to greatertrenton.org.

Grant opportunities announced

I Am Trenton Community Foundation’s new Old Trenton Arts & Community Grants Program will begin on Tuesday, January 2.

I Am Trenton is a nonprofit organization designed to enhance Trenton’s quality of life and build pride. Its activities include small grants to local organizations, a billboard campaign celebrating people who enhance the city by positive actions and engagement, and community partnerships.

The new competitive grants program reflects current efforts by several Trenton organizations to establish an arts and culture district in the Old Trenton neighborhood, bordered by East State Street, North Broad Street, Perry Street, and Route 1. The maximum award is $8,000.

The general grants schedule is as follows: January 2, grant applications and criteria available on website; January 13 and 17, mandatory workshops; February 12, applications due at noon; March 16 and 17, notifications to applicants; March 27, award ceremony and checks presentation; March 28, projects start; September 6, interim reports due; December 31, projects end; and January 20, 2019, final reports due.

For more details on eligibility, categories of funding, criteria, and selection process, go to iamtrenton.org.