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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Republicans attack downtown Trenton plan

Republican legislators questioned the fiscal implications of plans calling for the reconstruction of a system of parks in and around the Statehouse and other portions of downtown Trenton on Wednesday.

The Capital City State Park project would be a return to Trenton's past, in that it would result in the restoration of many acres of waterfront parkland that have not existed since the expansion of state facilities along the Delaware River decades ago.

It is slated to cost somewhere around $87 million and is expected to take around 15 years for completion, when broken into phases calling for the demolition of parking around state facilities, construction of a new Visitor's Center and sculpture garden, and the development of a park along the riverfront.

“From the information we obtained, there are significant issues that need to be addressed regarding the scope of the Capital City State Park Project,” said Charlotte Vandervalk, R- Bergen, in a statement. “First and foremost is the question of whether the State should be spending millions of dollars to eliminate parking spaces used by the public who visit the War Memorial Patriot’s Theatre, the State Museum, State Library, and legislative offices."

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said that even Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer acknowledged concern over the potential for the project to cause serious parking problems in downtown Trenton.

Apparently the mayor made those observations on a recent news talk show, despite being frequently in the dark about Trenton projects due to his frequent absences from the city.

The Republicans said that interim plans to turn Route 29 into an urban boulevard were not included in the cost estimate of the project, for which the state is preparing to solicit bids in the coming months.

"It wouldn’t surprise me if we’re talking about a project cost in excess of $100 million," said Mr. O'Scanlon, in a statement.

A statement from the two Republican legislators stated they expect to attend a meeting scheduled for today with Democratic leadership to discuss concerns about the project.


Old Mill Hill said...

So where were Vandervalk and O'Scanlon when the public meetings and design competition were held two years ago?

Or for that matter, Molly McDonough?

This plan did not spontaneously generate in a vacuum.

Just more political posturing from inattentive legislators.

Nicholas Stewart said...

I am simply happy to learn that it is being discussed again though I believe it to be too soon to move forward with any part of the project. I am surprised the state is seeking bids for the boulevard at this point considering its fiscal woes. Is this that important of a project in the present time?

Anonymous said...

The state should use that $ to maintain & improve the EXISTING 50+ parks rotting all over the state capital!