Turner Bill To Help Trenton Clear Unsafe, Blighted Properties Gets Senate Committee Okay

Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, speaks in opposition to the FY 2011 Budget.

Capital City To Receive $2.7+M To Demolish Public Safety Hazards

TRENTON – The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today released legislation Sen. Shirley Turner sponsored to provide Trenton with more than $2.7 million for the demolition of unsafe buildings that pose a hazard to public health and safety.

Under the bill (S-3187), the capital city would reap a total of $2,773,100 – the lion’s share of $7.4 million in state loans to be distributed from the “Urban and Rural Centers Unsafe Buildings Demolition Bond Act,” a revolving loan fund established by voter approval in 1997.

“The proliferation of vacant and increasingly vandalized properties across Trenton is holding the city back from reclaiming its communities and improving residents’ quality of life,” said Turner (D-Mercer). “To move forward, Trenton must have the resources to tear down these threats to public safety, so they can be either replaced with new properties to lure families back or converted to open space for residents to enjoy safely.”

According to a recent report by The Times of Trenton, there are 1,611 vacant properties across the city. Some of those empty properties have become havens for drug-dealing and vandalism. In June 2011, a Trenton firefighter was injured while battling a blaze set in a vacant rowhouse.

Last week, the city auctioned-off 68 of the roughly 500 city-owned vacant properties, netting $223,000.

“Trenton’s rebirth will rely on a new generation of owners who take pride in the city and its buildings, but some places are just too far gone to be rehabbed and must be taken down,” said Turner. “But in doing so, the city can create a blank slate on which a family can build their dream.”

Under the terms of the revolving loan fund, the city would have up to 20 years to repay the loan at 4 percent interest.

Other benefiting cities under the measure include:

· Belleville, $600,000

· Camden City, $2,000,000

· Clifton, $210,000

· Hackensack, $20,000

· Irvington, $923,240

· Millville, $60,000

· Orange, $325,000

· Pleasantville, $174,000

· Rahway, $218,000

· Vineland, $100,000

The bill was released 12-0, and is expected to be posted for votes in both houses on Monday.