By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON – Progress and improvements have been the story of most every aspect of the city’s finances and stability, with small yet notable gains made in many areas.
During her fourth State of the City address Mayor Kyle Stack said this could – and should – be the year to finally resolve two long-term issues while continuing to trend upward.
“We are doing everything in our effort to resolve these,” Stack said of the optimistic forecast for both the former Riverside Osteopathic Hospital and McLouth Steel, the West Jefferson properties that have sat idle and have generated numerous city council agenda items. Recent negotiations with both property owners have, Stack said, provided encouragement that redevelopment plans will begin or continue this year.
Overall the annual address, held Feb. 1 at the Westfield Activities Center and hosted by the Trenton Rotary Club and Trenton Business Association, described a city on the rise. Trenton – which like its Downriver neighbors had endured reductions in revenue against rising costs during the recession – is well positioned to capitalize on “an upswing in economy.”
Stack noted that property values have increased, more than 700 formerly vacant homes have been rented or are being rehabilitated, and new downtown businesses including Biggby Coffee, Ramsey’s Family Restaurant and Elizabeth Perk reflected a growing commercial interest in the city.
New businesses and progress on long-unresolved issues were complemented with dozens of smaller-scale projects that enhanced the city’s quality of life. Stack said cost-saving measures include DTE Energy converting to LED lighting on public roads; new sanitation trucks and fire vehicles have been purchased to replace long-outdated equipment; and the Wastewater Treatment Plant will undergo a multi-million renovation.
Community enhancements continued with new windows at the Trenton Historical Museum, which is expected to see a completion of restorations this year, and a Parks and Recreation grant will break ground on a pathway connecting Elizabeth Park to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Stack said the collective efforts have kept Trenton “a city in which people are proud to live, work and recreate,” and all signs indicate that will only continue.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)