By Joshua Burd
A top executive with Greater Trenton, the nonprofit economic development organization in the city, has taken the reins as board chair of the Trenton Downtown Association.
In a news release, the association said Bryan Evans recently assumed the post after an election that also marked the return of board members Kamal Bathla, Liad Onitiri, Wayne Downing and Raoul Momo. Evans is also leading TDA’s newly established executive committee, which also includes William “Butch” Osterman as vice chair, Anne LaBate as treasurer and Cassandra Sanchez as secretary.
“In 2022, TDA sharpened its focus on clean and safe, beautification and creative placemaking, while investing in capital improvements and collaborating with partners to create impactful events downtown,” said Evans, a senior vice president with Greater Trenton. “While local economic challenges remain formidable, we see signs of a positive recovery from the aftershocks of COVID-19 as foot traffic begins to trend upward.”
The organization said that 2022 saw the addition of 100 self-watering planters, new garbage cans, decorative street pole banners and holiday lighting and décor to the downtown, as well as various capital improvements. It aims to bolster those programs and other initiatives with expanded crews, enhanced equipment and more comprehensive data collection to better inform its planning of services, Evans said.
Plans also include new plantings, as well as additional public art and decorations, wayfinding signage and sculptures, with the goal of beautifying and creating a more inviting downtown area. Additionally, TDA expects to increase its off-duty police program, provide support to at-need populations, add more lighting and promote façade enhancement programs, among other steps.
“Downtown Trenton is a significant historic district, with wonderful cultural attractions, great food, a lively arts scene and, of course, our state capital,” Evans said. “We understand that a cleaner, safer and more attractive downtown district is key to attracting and retaining businesses, residents and visitors. This has to be our focus.”
TDA will also play an important role in supporting popular events such as the Capital City Farmers’ Market, the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series, Patriots Week, First Fridays and more.
“Working together, we established a solid foundation for a reimagined downtown with new initiatives and enhancements to existing programs and opportunities for investment,” he added. “We are excited and optimistic about the year ahead.”