NJCC awarded $928k to revitalize historic East Trenton Library Community Center

New Jersey Community Capital received an award of $928,863 in Community Capital Needs funds through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program that it will use funding to complete the Phase I rehabilitation of the East Trenton Library Community Center.

Once completed, the East Trenton Library Community Center will host community programs focused on job readiness, adult education, employment training, and entrepreneurial training among others, run by the City of Trenton, the East Trenton Collaborative, and other partners.

“We are making great strides in East Trenton and this award will move us closer to bringing our shared vision of the East Trenton Library Community Center to reality,” Bernel Hall, resident and CEO of New Jersey Community Capital stated. “We couldn’t do this without our community members and partners, including the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Thanks to their support, East Trenton residents will eventually have a state-of-the-art community center to meet their educational needs and more.”

NJCC has been working since 2018 with resident leaders, the City of Trenton, and the Trenton-based firm Clarke Caton Hintz on a two-phase restoration plan for the historic East Trenton Library building.

Located at 701 North Clinton Ave., the rehabilitation project is a major activity of the East Trenton Collaborative.

Kathy Bellamy, an East Trenton resident who has worked with ETC in planning for the renovation, said “community members eagerly await the reopening of this beloved facility for community programming. The East Trenton Library building was the heart of learning and gathering for generations of East Trenton residents, and it will soon be again.”

This current award marks the sixth time NJCC has successfully secured NRTC funds for advancing the community vision for East Trenton. In May, the Department of Community Affairs awarded NJCC $985,000 through the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program (NRTC) to support other ongoing programs managed by the ETC.

Through the ETC, NJCC will use funds from the May award to acquire and rehabilitate three additional abandoned neighborhood homes. As a result of the May award, NJCC is also offering youth employment programming for a sixth year, involving 15 teenagers during the summer and 10 during the academic year. In partnership with UrbanPromise Trenton, this program is aimed at teens ages 14 to 18 interested in gaining workplace skills through on-the-job experience.

At the core of NJCC’s revitalization efforts in East Trenton are community engagement, organizing, and events that foster relationships among residents in order to achieve their goals and continue implementation of the resident-driven plan. Throughout 2022, ETC’s four resident-led Community Organizing Committees will continue to engage with the City and other organizations to improve conditions in East Trenton on issues ranging from park conditions to traffic safety, environmental safety, and civic engagement.