Transforming Trenton — Small Steps Can Have A Big Impact
Last year, a study released by Virginia Commonwealth University revealed that the difference in life expectancy between living in Trenton and nearby Princeton Junction is 14 years. Unfortunately, the news was no surprise given that nearly half of the residents had informed us in a previous survey that they found it hard to live a healthy life in Trenton.
As community leaders, our goal is to build a bright future by educating, empowering and creating opportunities for our residents to live longer, healthy and productive lives. The Trenton Healthy Team partnership recently was selected to participate in a nationwide BUILD Health Challenge, which will fund our efforts to improve community environments and ultimately achieve positive health outcomes. Specifically, we will focus on developing a “Safe & Healthy Corridor” within the North Ward section of Brunswick Avenue, from the Trenton Battle Monument Park to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.
Over time, we will transform littered and vacant areas, abandoned buildings, and neglected streets and sidewalks into safe, livable, and walkable spaces that offer healthy resources for residents, visitors and employees. Cleaning and greening vacant lots, establishing community gardens, creating soccer fields, and improving streetscapes are all part of the master plan.
More importantly, the proposed community improvements are designed to encourage healthy lifestyle choices that reduce obesity and the burden of chronic disease.
Working together with Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center, the Trenton Health & Human Services Department, and various other community partners, we will identify and implement innovative community solutions.
While this may be a small step, it is a step in the right direction that can lead to positive health outcomes for our residents, and serve as a model for further transformation within our city.
— Gregory Paulson is executive director of the Trenton Health Team