Building a Stronger North Ward and a Better City

Guest Editorial By Merkle Cherry

I'm running for North Ward Councilman because I love Trenton and its people and I'm concerned about the future of our great city.

I'm asking for voter support in the North Ward to help me win on November 8—making the change we need to return to a focus on meeting residents' needs and interests in the North Ward.

If elected, I plan to help restore dignity, mutual respect, and professionalism to the City Council.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, several significant unaddressed concerns impacted North Ward residents’ quality of life—property and violent crime; inadequate police patrols; neighborhood cleanliness; overgrown trees; access to decent, inspected neighborhood housing; and access to local government information and services. I want to use my 33 years as an executive manager in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to address these issues together with North Ward residents and City Hall.

Issues I’ll be talking about over the next seven months include:

Restructuring Public Safety. Devise a community-centered approach to keep our North Ward neighborhoods safe.

  • Capture state and federal resources to hire more police and implement a real community policing program.
  • Ensure that our Trenton Police Department has the resources to be an effective crime-fighting organization accountable to the community.
  • Unify the police and community groups to help implement meaningful police reform.
  • Develop strategies to recruit new police officers from the community, so the department reflects our city's diversity.
  • Encourage our city's young people to pursue careers in law enforcement.

Executing Effective Economic Development. Attract and retain businesses to the city and North Ward to strengthen our economy and create more employment and buy-local opportunities.

  • Create new housing and homeownership opportunities.
  • Develop an easy-to-access microloan program for North Ward and city businesses.
  • Market Trenton's storied history and assets to drive tourism and support our city's economy.
  • Revisit the city's master plan for development and economic prosperity, guided by input from city residents.

Cleaning Up Trenton. Maintain city parks, open spaces, and public spaces for our residents and visitors to enjoy year-round.

  • Improve tree trimming and care for healthier trees that beautify Trenton.
  • Address illegal dumping.
  • Upgrade snow removal on main roads and side streets.
  • Fix potholes and expand the city's street paving.

Improving People's Lives. A better quality of life for all Trenton residents!

Ensure our senior citizens have easy access to services, city facilities, and transportation.

  • Create more recreational activities for children.
  • Strengthen city services for residents struggling with homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and re-entry from incarceration.
  • Strengthen work and programs that address food insecurity.

Strengthening Public Education. Support practical efforts to strengthen Trenton public schools and efforts by our teachers and administrators to help our students see where their education can lead.

As your devoted neighbor and a resident who has lived and raised a family in the same house on Second Street for 43 years, I share your concerns and hope for our historic, resilient city. To that end, I look forward to meeting more of my North Ward neighbors in the weeks and months ahead, knocking on doors to ask for your support and discuss how we can work together to build a stronger North Ward and a better city.

Merkle Cherry is a candidate for Trenton's North Ward city council.

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