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East Trenton Collaborative celebrates project completion

Perry Shaw III, executive director for A Better Way, knows a formula exists for success.

“Once you build a successful track record, prove that your initiative produces positive results, then people will give their support,” Shaw said.

Shaw’s comments came just before Diane Sterner, community strategies advisor for New Jersey Community Capital, introduced Wanda Saez during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday for an East Trenton Collaborative completed redevelopment project on North Clinton Ave.

Saez, a Wells Fargo senior vice-president of corporate responsibility and public relations, reached for a giant six-figure check.

While ideas and energy matter, nothing says trust like financial capital. People and businesses who invest money, make a statement about belief and faith in mission.

Wells Fargo, a long-term supporter of East Trenton Collaborative and revitalization of the neighborhood, announced an additional commitment of $171,000 for continued work in the community.

The ceremony recognized the completed renovation of 615 North Clinton Ave., a building redeveloped into mixed-use space with three apartments and a storefront for a neighborhood-based business entrepreneur.

New Jersey Community Capital and East Trenton Collaborative created a partnership for this estimated $300,000 project sparked by funding from Wells Fargo, a Department of Community Affairs Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit program, NJM Insurance Group and Community Housing Capital.

Trenton-based contractor E&P Resource Group completed the project with local residents enjoying benefits of employment.

“This completed project is testimony to what can occur when people and organizations work together. It took all of us coming together to make this project happen,” Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson said.

The East Trenton Collaborative includes the usual suspects regarding city revitalization efforts. These organizations understand that collaboration is the mother of all comebacks.

A Better Way, Isles, Play Soccer, Urban Promise, D&R Greenway, Habitat for Humanity, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, HomeFront, I Am Trenton, Rescue Mission of Trenton and the City of Trenton remain committed not only the redevelopment of buildings but also a renovation of lives through self-empowerment.

The small project serves as a blueprint for success, underscoring positive outcomes produced by community input, action and collaboration.

Sterner presented a robust list of dreams to turn this North Clinton Ave. corridor into a bustling avenue driven by an engaged community.

“We’re working with Trenton residents to help fulfill their dreams for this neighborhood,” Sterner said.

Sterner outlined efforts to restoring North Clinton Ave. “into a proud and bustling commercial corridor” through job creation and opportunities for community youth.

“I’m excited about ETC’s accomplishments and agenda,” Marge Caldwell, North Ward councilwoman said.

“With the revival of this area, Trenton is moving in the right direction.”

Wayne T. Meyer, NJCC president, pointed ETC toward successful initiatives.

“Where do we go from here? Onward,” Meyer proposed.

“This project is just one of many positive changes planned that will benefit this community.”