Editorial: Trenton’s inclusion in national ‘311 for Cities’ provides valuable resources for change

Trenton, New Jersey The Times of Trenton’s Editorial Board The Times of Trenton June 11, 2014 The Network

As he takes office July 1, Trenton’s new mayor will have an invaluable resource at the ready to help put Trenton back on track. The city was one of 50 chosen nationwide to take part in the National Resource Network or 311 for Cities, a pilot program launched last month by the Obama administration.

Sounding as if it were tailor-made for Trenton, the Network offers direct access to experts, technical advice and information that can help city leaders address the “challenges of growing inequality, high unemployment, under-performing schools, aging infrastructure, and vacant and blighted properties,” according to its federal architects.

The 311 for Cities program taps into the collective wisdom, best practices and practical experience of municipalities across the country.

City Business Administrator, Sam Hutchinson, sees it as a vehicle for helping Trenton move forward with some of its plans for redevelopment.

“I think just having it at our disposal — new ideas that have been tried and tested as well as those that have been explored and (found) unworkable — will cut down on a great deal of cost and resources that we don’t have,” he said.

City officials foresee the 311 for Cities program as a way of building on initiatives already under way and securing assistance on strategic approaches to crime prevention, managing municipal resources, business retention and job creation.

With new leadership and the potential for proven strategies to deal with obstacles in the way of Trenton’s development, the city is better positioned for progress than it has been in years.