Hello, and welcome to the Mercer County website.
It is my pleasure to offer this online venue as a place to learn about Mercer County, from its history to what we can offer you right now. I hope you find navigating our website and finding the information you need as simple as we have intended. Among the many features on the site is an alphabetized index of all of Mercer County’s great services, information for visitors traveling to our Capital County, and a list of frequently used phone numbers.
I consider it an honor to serve as your County Executive, and this website is another step toward one of my Administration’s priorities: making Mercer County government open, accessible and responsible.
County government brings our communities together, because it is regional and can improve the quality of life countywide, yet small enough to touch individual citizens. I vow that my Administration will continue to be guided by a passion for public service, for doing the right thing, and for reaching those who feel overlooked. I will continue to improve the quality of life for all Mercer County residents, always looking for new ways to make Mercer County a better place to work, live, play and raise a family.
Mercer County has much to offer. We are rich in history — major battles in the Revolutionary War took place across our county, and Trenton contributed greatly to America’s development during the Industrial Revolution.
Today, waves of newcomers are adding new ideas to the chorus of energy that makes Mercer County a center for business, education and research, arts and entertainment, technology and entrepreneurship. Whether you visit one of our historic sites, enjoy one of our parks, take in a play or musical performance, shop in one of our many retail centers, or study at one of our institutions of higher learning, you will agree that Mercer County has it all.
The One-Stop Career Center is an extremely valuable resource for jobseekers and businesses alike. The Center assists customers with everything from occupational counseling, employability workshops, and resume building to obtaining unemployment insurance. The Center assists businesses by pre-screening potential employees, an incentive program that pays 50 percent of a new employee’s wages for up to six months, and obtaining tax credits for businesses that hire from certain target groups.
We believe any business—large or small—can build a future here in Mercer County. Our County holds an advantage thanks to four major factors that offer potential for success: 1. proximity and easy access to customers and suppliers; 2. a high technology base; 3. state-of-the-art infrastructure; and 4. a highly skilled, educated workforce. Our regional economy keeps our residents employed and consistently outperforms other areas in New Jersey and in the U.S.—we welcome you to find out more information!
Mercer County’s new criminal courthouse in downtown Trenton opened in January 2013, taking the place of the former, 106-year-old courthouse. The courthouse project was the largest, most complex public construction project in the County’s history. This project brought hundreds of new labor jobs during construction, and also restored some of the beauty to downtown Trenton. The new courthouse was built to environmentally friendly LEED standards as well, which simply means it will use energy, light, and water very efficiently. Also, other large construction projects are in the works, such as the mega warehouse that the Internet retail giant Amazon plans to construct in Robbinsville. And improvements continue to be made at Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence and the MarketFair Shopping Center in West Windsor. With these and other developments, the unemployment rate in Mercer County has consistently been lower than most areas of the country.
Two venues built by Mercer County —ARM & HAMMER Park (formerly Waterfront Park) and the Sun National Bank Center — continue to be a destination for sporting events, concerts, and trade shows in Trenton, our capital city. The Sun National Bank Center sees more than 300,000 visitors a year at more than 160 events, while the Trenton Thunder consistently draw huge crowds to ARM & HAMMER Park, an average of 400,000 fans a year. We work hard to ensure that these venues spark the private investment that adds jobs, revenue and opportunity for our residents.
Mercer County is home to more than 17,000 small businesses that comprise the backbone of our economy. We offer a wealth of resources for small businesses, their owners, and those interested in opening their own business. Specifically, the County partners with the Small Business Development Center at The College of New Jersey to help small businesses with planning, financing, and obtaining government contracts. In addition, we support the Latino Business Institute, which caters directly to Latino-owned businesses. Meanwhile, our Mercer County Loan Fund can offer loans between $25,000 and $125,000. No community is complete without a vibrant and diverse economy, and we will continue to attract new economic opportunity to Mercer County.
The Mercer County Park Commission offers more than 10,000 acres of parkland and open space and has more than 2 million visitors each year. Our parks boast numerous locations for active and passive recreation, including athletic fields and facilities, countless trails, four golf courses, meeting places and catering halls, and our new 2,000-acre natural park, Mercer Meadows. The Mercer County Park Festival Grounds are home to some of the largest and most diverse events in the County, including the Trenton Kennel Club Dog Show, Freedom Fest, Mercer County Cultural Festival, Italian American Festival, Indo-American Fair, Mercer Irish Fest, Renaissance Fair and Park Commission Summer Concert Series. The Park Commission has been recognized recently with a variety of prestigious awards for new projects, such as Lakeside Village, Mountain View Clubhouse, Indoor Tennis Center and the September 11th Memorial. Please download the free smart phone application for Mercer County Park, and visit the new Park Commission website (www.mercercountyparks.org) for a listing of all facilities and the events and programming offered by each.
More than 20 percent of Mercer County’s total land has been protected from development into perpetuity. Since 1990, when the open space tax was first collected, Mercer County has preserved nearly 16,000 acres of open space and farmland by working with its municipalities and its extensive network of partners. We will continue to purchase open space to ensure that development and congestion do not overtake our farms, forests, meadows, and stream corridors. By preserving these precious acres while we can, not only are we protecting our quality of life, but we are also preserving a legacy for our children and grandchildren.
In cooperation with our towns, the Mercer County Department of Transportation and Infrastructure has repaved miles of roadway, improved dozens of intersections, installed pedestrian countdown readings at traffic signals and installed guide rails, and improved pavement markings. We have also rebuilt 45 aging and deficient bridges across the County since 2004. All of this work is designed to improve travel and reduce congestion — work that residents and the business community alike can appreciate. The Mercer County DOT&I also operates Trenton-Mercer Airport, one of three fully certified Commercial Service Airports in New Jersey offering corporate and passenger air service.
We have expanded veterans’ services and opened the Mercer County Veterans Home to serve those who have protected our freedoms. This office handles VA compensation claims and many other services veterans need on a year-round basis. Job fairs specifically for veterans are held periodically throughout the year, as are celebrations on patriotic holidays. We are constantly seeking ways to improve our veteran services, and we recently added a drug and alcohol treatment component for veterans returning from combat.
The Mercer County Library System provides patrons with the ability to search a system-wide collection of more than 762,150 items, including an extensive collection of videos on VHS and DVD, music CDs, books on CD and tape, downloadable audio books and e-books, and numerous reference resources in a variety of formats that are available in-house and remotely. The Library System was ranked among the nation’s best with a five-star rating from the Library Journal for the fifth consecutive year. In 2012, the Library System announced the launch of its revised website (www.mcl.org), which was developed to provide more information in a clean, easy-to-use design. It features an improved navigational structure, home page program information, and streamlined access to using library spaces and services, as well as online research resources. The nine branches of the Library System are: the East Windsor branches of Twin Rivers and Hickory Corner, the Ewing branches located on Scotch Road and in the Hollowbrook Community Center, the Hightstown Memorial Library branch, the Hopewell branch, the Lawrence branch, the Robbinsville branch, and the West Windsor branch.
The County Prosecutor’s Office of 44 assistant prosecutors, 54 investigators and support staff handled 4,738 cases in 2011. A total of 1,532 indictments were returned and 795 defendants entered pleas to accusations. Further, the Prosecutor’s Office assists each municipality in monitoring registered sex offenders under Megan’s Law who reside in Mercer County. The County Sheriff’s Office leads thousands of cases, including serving warrants, evictions, and other civil papers and conducting Sheriff’s sales, in addition to providing security at most County buildings. The Mercer County Police Academy, opened in 2007, is stationed at Mercer County Community College and offers in-house training for Mercer County law enforcement personnel for the first time. It allows local law enforcement a readily accessible center for training recruits, provides uniform training across agencies, and facilitates inter-agency cooperation.
Mercer County takes great pride in serving its over 60,000 older adults. Through the Office on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Connection, programs exist in the community to help seniors live independently and safely in their community and in the residential setting of their choice. These services include legal assistance, friendly visiting, homecare and respite services, socialization and recreation, and educational opportunities. Those 60 years of age and older can participate in health and wellness activities at any of Mercer County’s 12 senior centers. The Mercer County Board of Social Services supports those most vulnerable to abuse or exploitation through its Adult Protective Services program. We have expanded transportation opportunities and reduced waiting lists for our seniors and our citizens with disabilities to move more freely throughout our area and through our Department of Transportation’s T.R.A.D.E. (Transportation Resources to Aid the Disabled and Elderly) program. Our Veteran Services Office is highly capable of assisting aging veterans and their families with obtaining military records, disability claims, and survivor benefits.
I think of the people of Mercer County as my extended family and my tenure in office as a privilege. Serving you is an honor, and I vow to do my best each day to make our county a better place to live and work. Look around, see everything we can offer you, and please let us know how we can better serve you.
Brian M. Hughes