Unite Trenton with an updated, interactive website

Written by Caty Poole

I believe Trenton should capitalize on its strengths and create a new branding platform by taking advantage of digital technology and revamping the city’s website.

Trenton has a lengthy list of what is working in its favor:

  • It is the Capital City
  • Historical significance: William Trent House, Barracks Museum, Battle Monument
  • Transportation hub: recently rebuilt Trenton Rail Station, light rail (River Line) and extensive bus system
  • Arts and Culture: Artworks visual art studio and gallery, Mill Hill Playhouse and the Trenton Patriot’s Theater, the NJ State Museum and Planetarium, Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, Cadwalader Park and Classics Used and Rare Books
  • A state-of-the-art public television/radio station
  • Marriott at Lafayette Yard
  • Nearby movie theaters: Destina and AMC Hamilton
  • Numerous restaurants representing a number of cultural backgrounds including Italian, middle Eastern, Spanish, Southern BBQ
  • Proximity to nearby colleges and university campuses, not to mention TESC
  • Reasonably priced housing
  • Through access to Philadelphia, New York and Atlantic City (as well as Jersey Shore points)

Trenton has so many positive features it can boast about. It only needs a venue through which it can do so.

Most of the residents I’ve met in and around the City of Trenton say the same thing: We have many pockets of active civic groups, locations of interest and efforts of appreciation across the city. If only we could bring them all together! I say WE CAN and WE SHOULD. I believe launching a rebuilt website is the key.

Like New Jersey, the mid-Atlantic states played a critical role in the formation of our country.  To this day, many of them, along with their capitals, still serve important functions in business and industry. Their capital cities also have websites that serve as portals to businesses, residents and visitors.

With the reduction in local newsprint like The Times of Trenton, the world increasingly turns to digital technology and the World Wide Web for all its information. But it doesn’t simply use the Web as an information source anymore. As sites such as Facebook and Twitter have shown us, the Web has become the interactive forum through which business and social connections are made and maintained.

I envision a revitalized website as not only a source of information for businesses and residents, but a centralized point for those as well as the many civic groups, museums, etc. to gather and share news, event information, photos. By this I mean that the site should be interactive at certain levels, providing for links to the various historic sites, community groups, so that the site as well as the City can function as the gateway they are. The City can use the site as a building block to launch a new marketing message. Some people mock our “Trenton Makes, the World Takes” bridge for the out-of-date period it represents. Let us build a website that will serve as a starting point for a new brand of Trenton.

Let us label and build upon Trenton being the gateway to all things in New Jersey. There are so many ways in which the City can use this as a collaborative effort, to work with historic sites, government offices, major local businesses (such as the Mercer Chamber of Commerce, the Sun Bank Arena, Trenton Thunder Stadium and the Marriott), culture, residents – the possibilities are too numerous to name here.

I believe the City’s website can be rebuilt at a moderate cost. Trenton has access to a number of local colleges with many students interested in making their mark in the business world. Trenton could coordinate with one or more of the colleges or universities to recruit interns to plan, map and populate the site. Another option would be to conduct a competition among teams or individuals from the colleges to create a new website with a list of goals to achieve and a deadline for submission and launch.  One need only take a look at some of our neighboring capital city sites as great examples: Baltimore (MD), Providence (RI), and Hartford (CT).

Other ideas to revitalize our city could take large amounts of capital, infrastructure and longer periods of time to implement. However, the wonderful thing about updating our website is that it is not fixed in stone. It can be updated to reflect the ongoing efforts of the city. And for less capital investment than some projects, the effect it can and will have on the face that Trenton puts forth in the business and residential communities it serves will be invaluable.

Exhibit A: www.hartford.gov

I love the idea of the “What I Like About Hartford” video link!

Note the variety of links to attractions and events on the lower right.

Exhibit B: http://www3.providenceri.com/

Notice the specific tabs at the top for residents, visitors and businesses.

Exhibit C: http://www.ci.annapolis.md.us/

City of Annapolis, MD interactive calendar of events.

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