Money matters and negativity forces Trenton from YMCA name
Sam Frisby, a Mercer County Freeholder and executive director for Capital Area YMCA formerly known as the Trenton YMCA, offered an invitation.
Frisby wanted attendance and coverage for a party to announce his organization’s name change, a step away from all the negativity associated with Trenton. Goodbye Trenton. Hello Capital Area YMCA. Yuck-ola. Frisby defended the change, saying that the move, supported unanimously by board members, made a lot of sense.
“Made a lot of sense because we serve areas like Ewing and Lawrence. This becomes more an issue about getting more people into the tent. We did our research and found that most people associate the Capital Area name with Trenton. I know that the city has been trying to rebrand itself as the Capital Area. We’re still in Trenton, still in the same building, still have the same objectives, we’re just operating under a different name,” Frisby said.
Different name tethered to the same disappointing perceptions that have people jumping ship, killing off Trenton not only in name but also delivering another nailed acceptance that this city holds no chance of revitalization. Frisby dodged and employed deft insights, eventually circling back to the real issue.
“It’s getting much tougher for non-profits. And now that we’re not far away from $15 an hour minimum wage, it’s going to get a lot more difficult. We have to raise money, find more financial support. In order to make the business work and make the numbers work, we gotta do what we have to do. We know that there’s negativity connected to the name “Trenton.” That’s why you rebrand.”
The alteration, rebrand or giving up on, paralleled a 1996 decision when trustees of Trenton State College voted 8 to 0 to change the school’s name to the College of New Jersey.
Then Mayor Douglas H. Palmer described the name change as “an affront to the (Trenton) community.”
The College of New Jersey attracted a different class of suburban students, cultivated significant success and earned status as a topranked college in numerous national polls.
No doubt, a mass shooting at Art All Night, a premier city event produced serious recriminations and judgments about Trenton. With more than a dozen people wounded and a gunman shot dead inside a Roebling Iron Works facility, Trenton made national and international news.
Summer of 2018 delivered an uptick in violence, particularly shootings, continued bad news for a city that needed positive occurrences.
Removing Trenton as an identifier for the YMCA means a permanent desertion, a belief that this city will never attain revitalization. Taking Trenton out of the name serves as placation for many people who live outside the city or breathe better air in the financially secure suburban-like city enclaves.
What’s next? Trenton Thunder, an American Minor League Baseball team and Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, becomes Capital Area Thunder.
Or, perhaps the famous Delaware River bridge sign drops Trenton for “Capital Area Makes, The World Takes.”
We could install Capital Area Free Public Library or remove Trenton as the state capital, opting for a location with minimal crime, less gun violence and a successful education system.
“When I was just a board member, I fought against a name change but now that I’m charged with running this business, I have to do everything possible to keep our doors open,” Frisby said.
“I live in Trenton. And I want to see this community improve, get better. I have to find ways to make this work.”
Kids cool off in the pool at the YMCA in Trenton.