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Jacque Howard's Trenton 365 is a community building program that advocates for and endorses private citizens, nonprofit groups and businesses in the greater Trenton area. 

Lifestyle By Amans Brindled

It's Just A Tree Right?

Jacque Howard

February 2015

It’s Just a Tree right?

In 2011 myself and several other residents wanted to be more civically engaged and spoke to South Ward Councilman George Muschal and South Ward CPAC President Christine Donohue about Civic Associations in our area.  We attended TCCA-Trenton Council of Civic Associations meetings and began the process to create our own association.  This was done under the organizational model that neighbors who live closer together would have similar concerns and therefore be more united regarding a particular issue.

Later that year FPNEBA-Franklin Parks Northeast Block Association was formed and recognized by TCCA at it’s Annual Dinner.

FPNEBA members decided one of our areas of focus would be to address the cleanliness and maintenance of Franklin Park, making it more appealing and accessible to adults and children.  We contacted several people in the applicable City of Trenton departments and positions about our concerns and desires.  We were told the City had staffing issues and budget restrictions that would limit the ability to have our concerns addressed.  It was suggested that we could handle the maintenance ourselves. 

Shortly after as we began organizing, Supervisor James Mack and I met at Franklin Park and walked throughout.  I was specifically told what was and was not acceptable to do regarding our efforts.  One item specifically was to not remove any shrubbery, trees, plants or flowers from the root.  Trimming was allowed and encouraged however removal would violate City Law and responsible parties would be subject to disciplinary action.  It was also necessary to obtain a permit to clean the park.  

Since that time FPNEBA and several organizations like the Mercer County SLAP Program, CARETRENTON, Franklin Park Civic Association, Trenton Bicycle Modification Association and others have worked on a regular basis as volunteers to maintain the park.

After Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 several trees in Franklin Park were damaged and in need of trimming or removal if the tree was deemed unhealthy.  At least 4 trees were listed as damaged, unhealthy or dead and were trimmed to the point that they resemble “totem poles.”  I was told that the City does NOT have the ability to “grind stumps” therefore the “totem pole” look of the dead trees would have to stay.  As of December 2014 the “totem pole” trees were in the same state.

The ~35 foot evergreen tree was taken from Franklin Park not Villa Park.  Franklin Park is 1 of 2 parks in Trenton NJ designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, arguably known as the founder of Landscape Architecture.  He also designed Prospect and Central Park’s in NYC, The Lawrenceville School and several others.