June 8, 2018
West Trenton, NJ — Mayor Eric E. Jackson joined dozens of business and civic leaders today for a ceremonial groundbreaking to announce plans for the beautification and expansion of Trenton’s historic Battle Monument Park. The $200,000 project is being funded by NJM Insurance Group through a gift to the New Jersey Tree Foundation in memory of Caren Franzini.
"I am overjoyed to announce this project, which is a true result and testament to our rebuilding efforts in recent years to form strong partnerships with the private sector and philanthropic organizations to revive our capital city," said Mayor Jackson. "This project will not only make Trenton a more beautiful and sustainable place for the residents and visitors to the Five Points area, but it will do so in the honor of one of our most revered civic leaders. Caren's tireless work and her passion for our city has helped put Trenton back on the path to long-term growth and a better quality of life for all of our residents. But more than that, she was a dear friend and memorializing her in this way means a lot to me," said Mayor Jackson.
A highly-respected champion of Trenton's revitalization and former board member of NJM Insurance Group, Franzini passed away in 2017 after battling cancer. The New Jersey Tree Foundation was one of the organizations selected by the Franzini family for memorial gifts. A compassionate and distinguished economic development leader, Franzini was a fierce champion for the City of Trenton's future, and the beautification and expansion project memorializes her legacy and belief in Trenton’s assets and potential.
"As the longtime CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Caren worked successfully to promote economic opportunity throughout New Jersey and especially in our urban centers," said Mitch Livingston, President and CEO, NJM Insurance Group. "Here in our Capital City, Caren was a driving force behind the creation of Greater Trenton and served along with Bernie Flynn, NJM's recently retired CEO as one of the organization's founding co-chairs. Caren was also a member of NJM's Board of Directors, where her expertise provided valued guidance. The beautification of Battle Monument Park is a fitting tribute in Caren's memory. NJM is honored to support this project."
The design plan, created by Trenton-based Landscape Architect, Randy Baum, looks to combine the various historic, aesthetic and green space elements of the downtown community park. The initial phase of the project entails fence repair; the removal of existing plantings and hedging that will be replaced with trees and evergreen shrubs; pruning and feeding of existing trees; restoration and replacement of curbing with bluestone as well as the replacement of all existing urn plantings. In addition, the existing paving will be restored or replaced with bluestone within the curbing and pathways and repairing and painting of park benches.
A second phase of the project will expand the physical footprint below the Delaware & Raritan Canal. This phase will also embrace the historical elements of the park and includes the installation of a commemorative medallion and descriptive signage that will denote the significance of Battle Monument Park and its connection to other open space and historic sites located in downtown Trenton.
"We are extremely excited to be a part of this wonderful collaborative effort that will serve to underscore Caren Franzini's passion for Trenton and so many other urban centers," said Lisa Simms, Executive Director, NJ Tree Foundation. "Vibrant parks have a significant, positive impact on our children, neighbors and our health. Planting trees and revitalizing parks in our cities demonstrates a positive belief in our future."
About Battle Monument Park
Located in an area known as "Five Points", the Trenton Battle Monument and the surrounding park area commemorate the historic 1776 American victory at the first Battle of Trenton where General George Washington and 2,400 American troops defeated Hessian soldiers. Known as the Ten Crucial Days, the victories in Trenton, as well as Princeton turned the tide of the American Revolutionary War. Trenton's Battle Monument Park exists as a lasting reminder of the quest for independence that had its turning point on the streets of Trenton 240 years ago.
About The NJ Tree Foundation
The NJ Tree Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees in New Jersey's most urban neighborhoods, where the need is greatest. Through tree planting, volunteerism, and partnerships, NJ Tree Foundation assists numerous communities in improving their environment and quality of life.
About NJM Insurance Group
NJM is one of the Garden State's leading property and casualty insurers. Founded in 1913, NJM's mission is to provide value-based insurance solutions with the highest levels of service, integrity, and financial stewardship. One of the Company's core values is to support the communities it's privileged to serve, a value exercised through year-round employee volunteer efforts and a formal corporate giving program. Headquartered in West Trenton, NJ, NJM employs nearly 2,500 workers and operates in a mutual fashion for the exclusive benefit of its policyholders. More information is available at NJM.com.