Fostering self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities.
September 2021
Dear Friend,

For decades, Isles has worked to find innovative and creative ways to support and revitalize neighborhoods in and around Trenton. Even amidst COVID—in fact, in spite of it—we have created ways to partner with our neighbors and colleagues to create safe, healthy, and attractive environments with residents and stakeholders.

One small example, highlighted below, are "parklets," or temporary dining and social gathering areas in parking spots. Through the generous support of a private donor, and in partnership with Trenton Downtown Association and the City of Trenton, we built and installed eight parklets and sidewalk dining installations, providing COVID-safe gathering spots for patrons of local businesses. Parklets represent one way our COVID response continues to adapt to changing circumstances, while continuing to support Isles’ mission to create healthy communities.

Trenton offers historical and cultural riches, and we look for ways to highlight these assets in revitalization efforts. Over the summer, my colleague Chris Shimchick spearheaded a collaborative effort with the Trenton Free Public Library’s Trentoniana archive and five artists to tell the story of now gone buildings in downtown, helping to create a shared sense of place in our neighborhoods. Learn more about this project below.

Our neighborhood revitalization efforts continue in many other ways—a collaboratively-developed new neighborhood revitalization plan for downtown, supporting a neighborhood revitalization plan in North Trenton/Battle Monument, outreach and engagement for the City’s newly released Land Development Ordinance, stabilizing and securing additional resources for the Carver Center and the Higbee School, and updating a neighborhood conditions report. We look forward to keeping you updated on these projects as they progress.

Make sure to follow us Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see our latest highlights.

In community,

Managing Director, Community Services
Re-Thinking Neighborhood Spaces
The Trenton Ice Cream Parlor was opened for only days in March 2020, before the pandemic hit, forcing them to temporarily shut their doors.

Isles saw an opportunity to help: we partnered with them to re-think public space to promote social interaction through the creation of a "parklet" at their store.

Read about how this partnership creates safer, cleaner streets while supporting small business and economic activity.
Reflecting Trenton
Have you spotted the Reflecting Trenton art pieces displayed around the community? This Isles project, supported by New Jersey Council for the Humanities, features commissioned artwork that utilizes vintage and archived photographs of Downtown Trenton in order to highlight locations of importance in the City that are vacant, frequently overlooked, or no longer exist.
Artist: LANK | @jonny_lank
Local artists were commissioned to create custom artworks on large 4 ft x 6 ft vinyl poster utilizing art forms such as digital collage, editing, and other methods. Read what artist Heather Palecek had to say about the project:

"I loved being a part of the Reflecting Trenton community art project and am so thankful for the opportunity. To make my artwork I was forced to think outside the box as a pinhole photographer and create art in a way I had never worked before. Instead of working in a darkroom I used Photoshop to combine a historical photograph of the Broad Street Bank with the new pinhole photograph I created of it for the project. I'm really proud of the final artwork and loved seeing it exhibited on Montgomery Street."
Artist: Heather Palecek |
Take a look at some other artists showing off their creations:
This Saturday is Art All Day and Ciclovia! Join us this weekend as we celebrate Trenton as a hub of art, creation, and innovation with an open studio tour and creative showcase around the city. Streets will be closed to local traffic to offer open areas for biking, skating and live street art. Isles will be at S. Warren Street running T-Recs--our mobile recreation truck offering games and activities for families of all ages. See this social media post for location and event info.

For more event details head over to