Campbell and Mayor Douglas Palmer Announce Renovation of
(03/140) TRENTON ---Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell and Mayor Douglas Palmer today gathered for
a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the planned revitalization
of Agabiti Park in Trenton. Agabiti Park is a half-acre
park in the heart of the Chambersburg section of Trenton.
Commissioner Campbell and Mayor Palmer were joined by Assemblywoman
Bonnie Watson Coleman, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Liz Johnson
of the Coalition of Conservation and Dr. Joseph Youngblood,
of the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy at Thomas
Edison State College.
"Parks greatly enhance a community's economy, environment
and culture," said Bradley Campbell, commissioner. "Creating
and improving our green, open spaces make our cities and
towns cleaner, healthier and more livable," he added. "Under
the leadership of Governor McGreevey we regard recreational
land as an essential element of a livable community's infrastructure."
Parks for People initiative focuses on providing
recreation lands, urban wildlife preserves, and quality
open spaces in cities, suburbs, and other developed communities
throughout New Jersey.
"With this half-million dollar open space upgrade,
Agabiti Park will be a haven for residents and restaurant-goers
in Chambersburg," Mayor Douglas H. Palmer said. "Next
spring, when ornamental plants are blooming, people will
be able to enjoy a new gathering place with a lighted fountain,
brick and cobblestone detailing, and accommodations for
people with disabilities. This is an important extension
of the city's efforts to renovate Roebling Avenue."
"The restoration of Agabiti Park not only highlights
the rich and vibrant heritage of Chambersburg, but contributes
to the continuing renaissance of this unique district whose
ability to attract visitors throughout the tri-state area
is so critical to the economy of the Capitol City," said
"The Administration should be commended for achieving
a balance between suburban and urban park funding," said
Assemblyman Gusciora. "While it is important to secure
open space dollars to prevent sprawl, our urban residents
deserve adequate recreational space for its residents to
"Community parks are the life blood of healthy vibrant
communities," said Liz Johnson. "Every child
needs good outdoor space for play and exercise, and we
need to do more to provide these important spaces where
they are most needed in our developed communities."
"I am extremely excited about the restoration of
this historic site, and others like it around the state.
It ensures that we will continue to have beautiful and
safe recreational facilities for all of our children and
families while creating New Jersey's next generation of
nature lovers and environmental protectors," said
Commissioner Campbell reminded voters that they will have
an opportunity to decide the fate of a public question
that would make available up to an additional $150 million
for park improvements and open space purchases on Election
Day, Nov. 4.
Public Question No. 1, a constitutional amendment, proposes
to increase the bonding capacity of the Garden State Preservation
Trust to $1.15 billion, an increase of $150 million from
the $1 billion voters approved in 1998. The increased bonding
would place no additional costs on New Jersey taxpayers.
The sales tax dedicated in 1998 to pay off Garden State
Preservation Trust bonds would cover these additional bonds
by taking advantage of today's lower interest rates.
The location of the park, at Roebling and Whitaker Avenues,
has been publicly owned since 1875. A Trenton school was
on the site until 1940 when the building was demolished.
A park was developed on the lot that year and the site
has been used as a park ever since.
Over time, the park deteriorated. As part of the restoration
plan for the Chambersburg area, the city, along with residents
and the Chambersburg Restaurant Association, developed
a plan that recreates the park as a European style plaza
to reflect the ethnic background of the neighborhood residents.
The new space will be a gathering and destination place
that ties in with the restaurant district. It will feature
an ornamental fountain and large plaza for gatherings and
social events. Other design elements will include brick
or slate paving, lighting, signage and trees.
The work at the park is being funded through DEP's Green
Acres program. Green Acres provided the city with a grant
for $417,500 and a loan for $82,500 for the project.