A new economic development group has formed in Trenton, aimed at revitalizing the capital city. Trenton mayor Eric Jackson said the new nonprofit group, Greater Trenton, is a collaborative of business, education, and philanthropic groups that have made a five-year commitment to fund the initiative.

Greater Trenton is led by a board of directors hailing from institutions with a stake in the development of Trenton’s economy. It is co-chaired by Bernie Flynn, CEO of NJM Insurance Group, and Caren Franzini, the former executive director of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and a member of New Jersey Future’s board of trustees. New Jersey Future played a role in creating Greater Trenton.

Greater Trenton is currently searching for an executive director. New Jersey Future said in a press release that the new group will use private funding to coordinate downtown improvement projects, provide “one-stop” support for investors interested in Trenton projects, contact potential investors and tenants, and support and promote beautification efforts, among other goals.

“New Jersey Future works to revitalize and reinvigorate those downtowns and main streets that more and more people and businesses want to call home,” said Peter Kasabach, executive director of New Jersey Future. “We hope to be able to take the lessons learned creating Greater Trenton to more places in New Jersey and to affect state redevelopment policy in a positive way.”

Anthony “Skip” Cimino, former CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton, Nelida Valentin, former head of Leadership Trenton, and Monique King-Viehland, the outgoing head of Trenton’s department of housing and economic development, led the effort to start Greater Trenton.

“As someone who has spent his career in the public and private sectors, I appreciate the roles both play in effective community development,” Cimino said. “This initiative provides a partnership that offers real advantages to the city and the whole region without having to spend taxpayer dollars.”

The companies and organizations making up Greater Trenton’s initial board of directors include NJM Insurance Group, Capital Health Systems, Thomas Edison State College, Princeton University, Investors Bank, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Wells Fargo.

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