Cleaning, maintaining, beautifying, and activating underutilized public spaces
Over the past few years, we have used data to intentionally link our urban agriculture work to two new services: Clean & Green and T-Recs. Our work in prioritized locations instills community pride, supports economic development, and activates public spaces to ultimately decrease dumping, crime and to promote youth involvement.
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Clean & Green
This project targets underserved neighborhoods where Isles is implementing long-term revitalization initiatives or working closely with community partners. In collaboration with residents and stakeholders, Isles works to positively change the perception of Trenton neighborhoods, leading to safer, healthier communities that offer residents better amenities and opportunities. Our strategies include:
- Organizing and supporting community clean-ups with tools and other resources
- Clearing, cleaning, and maintaining vacant lots
- Maintaining, improving, and activating city parks
- Planting trees on streets and in parks
- Curbing illegal dumping through advocacy and by sharing information with the City of Trenton, residents, and other stakeholders
- Working with Urban Agriculture team to install parklets, flower planters and green infrastructure projects like rain barrels, rain gardens, and pollinator meadows
T-Recs (short for Trenton Recreation) is a mobile recreation service that offers a range of fun and educational opportunities for youth and adults. The main feature is a retrofitted box truck filled with games, sporting equipment, and arts & craft supplies that travels to parks, vacant lots, and community events. Highlights include:
- Providing an average of 400 hours annually of recreation programming with our mobile recreation truck
- Supporting pop-up recreation, art, environmental, or community events.
- Providing activities over the winter in gymnasiums and other community space
- Providing a revolving selection of features like ping-pong, hammocks, water play, stilts, board games, soccer, basketball, frisbee
Read the T-Recs Brochure for more information.
Studies have identified Trentonians’ top health concerns as problem properties (20% of all properties are vacant, including 2,400 lots), amount/condition of open space, safety, overweight/obesity, and chronic disease. One study found that 55% of Trentonians said it’s difficult to live a healthy lifestyle, 48% said they cannot take a walk, 58% said their community isn’t good for families, and <60% feel it’s easy to access fresh produce. Rutgers found that 47% of Trenton children are overweight/obese. Encouragingly, a robust body of research highlights the significant positive impacts of targeted property maintenance and activation on safety, community health, and space utilization.
Planted 39 new street trees along the N. Clinton Avenue corridor (24 trees in the spring and 15 trees in the fall.)
Reported over 40 occurrences of dumping, leading to improving quality of life in the communities served.
Installed and planted flower planters at 36 homes in Old Trenton Neighborhood and 10 in East Trenton over 4 separate community planting days.