By Michael Hill
Today, Gov. Christie announced he had a bridge for New Jersey’s capitol city — a pedestrian bridge that would go from the rooftop of the capitol garage to the banks of the Delaware River. It would go across Highway 29 built in the 1950s cutting off the city from the riverbank.
“It’s really remarkable that the entire west boundary of Trenton, more than five miles, is bordered by the Delaware River, yet 84,000 Trentonians are completely disconnected from the river and its tremendous potential. It’s also amazing that at one time people could walk out of the State House and stroll along the Delaware River,” he said.
The state Department of Transportation will put up $15 million for the bridge and the state Department of Environmental Protection will use more than $3 million to develop a four and a half acre riverfront park.
“Through these revitalization efforts, current residents, businesses and visitors are going to have greater access to downtown, positively impacting our state capitol’s economy and helping to restore Trenton to the capitol city that it should be,” Christie said.
Mayor Eric Jackson shares that vision.
“I see something grand. I see connectivity to the river, I see retail, I see entertainment, I see where families gather,” said Jackson.
The pedestrian bridge is another step in the Christie administration working to improve Trenton. It recently announced it would demolish 500 abandoned properties in Trenton and it’s installing more streetlights and adding 150 security cameras, among other state-funded projects.
“To make sure that we continue to try to build this city now that we have a reliable partner in a way that is going to enhance Trenton for decades to come,” Christie said.
When Democrat Jackson became mayor three years ago he said at his first meeting with the Republican governor they both agreed to put politics aside to do what was best for the city of Trenton.
“We found common ground and common projects that we could work on together and build out to get to this point today where our conversations and our work now bears great fruit,” Jackson said.
How would this work if he didn’t have a willing partner in City Hall? “We saw that as well. Just seven years ago the governor vows that he wouldn’t do any work in the city of Trenton because of the current leadership at that time. We wanted to come in and be professional. We wanted to come in and be ethical, transparent and do things the right way. We’ve demonstrated our ability to be good stewards of our funding and over out people and it’s made this collaboration work,” said Jackson.
How putting politics aside can build a bridge to the other side.