As part of an initiative to restore safety to neighborhoods in Trenton, Gov. Chris Christie yesterday announced a program to tear down 500 vacant buildings in the state’s capital city.
“[I]t’s unacceptable to me, to leave office without starting to make aggressive efforts to turn around a city that has such enormous potential,” Christie said. The governor made the announcement at a news conference on crime-plagued Fountain Avenue.
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency will provide $11.5 million to demolish the 500 mostly residential vacant buildings. Trenton, long marred by urban blight, has as many as 3,000 abandoned buildings in all.
The initiative will include help from the attorney general’s shooting response team to supplement local investigations, an extra 150 surveillance cameras from the New Jersey State Police, and expanded patrols around transportation hubs by NJ Transit police.
Residents say it’s vital also to restore recreation programs for kids. “That’s why there’s so much violence. Bring back programs. Stop spending money on police and guns, put it in programs,” said resident Lamar Priester.
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