February 14, 2009 Public Forum on Forming The Princeton Partnership
Mildred Trotman, Mayor of the Borough
Andrew Koontz, President of Borough Council
Kevin Wilkes, Member, Borough Council
Marvin Reed, Chair, Master Plan Subcommittee RPB
Wanda Gunning, Regional Planning Board
Michael Floyd, NJ HMFA
Pam Hersh, University Medical Center at Princeton
Eleanor Pinelli, Dorothea House
Kristin Appelget, Princeton University
Paul Breitman, Princeton University
Rick Weiss, Viocare
Joshua Zinder, JZ Architect
Peter Morgan, OM Architects
Lawrence Lindsay, Baxter Construction
Chip Crider, Crider Engineering
Barbara Fox, US 1
Ellen Gilbert, Town Topics
Mike Littwin, PrincetonTV
Copies of The Princeton Future Report to the Community, February 2009, were placed on each seat.
Robert Geddes: Thank you for coming to join the conversation this morning. A number of my colleagues on the Council of Princeton Future are here this morning. Sheldon Sturges, Managing Director, Marvin Bressler, Peter Kann, Jim Constantine, Susan Hockaday, Raoul Momo, Shirley Satterfield and Katherine Kish. The first half is intended to be a conversation and then after coffee, in the second half, there will be a recommendation from Princeton Future. Over the years, people have often asked us whether we would respond to the listening and the questions and so forth b having a recommendation, an action proposal. Let me begin b taking a back step to explain where we were when we started. And then jump to where we are now. And then we will work back and forth between those points. The logo of Princeton Future explains very well, even before we started, it sets the direction. The logo identified the downtown, surrounded by neighborhoods. And this is Lake Carnegie. We identified the downtown as being the heart of the region and it relates to its neighbors. At that time, about 8 years ago, there was a sense that the downtown is creeping into the neighborhoods. There was conflict between the downtown and the neighborhoods. That was an important beginning point of it all. That is still the essence of the discussion today is ‘What is the downtown? What is its economy? What does it mean to the viability and the diversity of the community as a whole? I suggest that if the logo were to change today, probably in some sense, there would be the larger region. You might say it is the Rt One Corridor. You might say it includes the townships around it. As we developed our tinking abut the downtown, it became apparent that the planning process, the way in which we as a community go about thinking about the downtown, involves 4 steps:
We needed INFORMATION. Often people would say ‘How do you know? Or, What is happening?…to property taxes?…to change in the neighborhood? …to traffic? We have often found that information is not available or is in dispute.
The second step in the process is PLANNING. There is a Community Master Plan. Marvin Reed is the Chair. That plan is ongoing on a six-year cycle with elements in it.
The next step involves how the developer community relates to the community. It is REGULATION. What effect does zoning have? What effect do building codes have? There are many ways that what we do as a community affect how we set up the regulations. Guidance.
And, the last step is IMPLEMENTATION. How do we organize ourselves as a community to carry-forward the goals and principles, the ides, the concepts.
At a recent meeting, one of the board members of Princeton Future asked “How would you like to be remembered? What is your brand?” I think, in a way, if you look outside at the square, that this complex, with the Library, the plaza, the hybrid building, the restaurant, the shop, the apartment house with affordable units, the garage. It is the best example you could have of implementation that makes a difference. This was a very special case. It was after all, the Boro redevelopment proect. Boro Land. It had the leadership of the Boro Council. It had participation of the community. There are many details about this that are very important to it. One is the fact that it is a hybrid building. Very few buildings like that get built. It is a garage with a layer on the front. You don’t enter the middle of the plaza, you cross it. The entrance to the Library is there, facing the plaza, part of the whole complex. This is a detail of the implementation that comes about because of the process that the Boro, Princeton Future and the developers engaged in. It is a measure of the community’s ability to set goals and achieve them.
We still don’t know though about our community. There seems to be a real gap. What we have been suggesting over the last few months is the development of an Index. An Index of information that would be a measure… a measure of income. A measure of diversity. It could be any number of things measured and compared over time and published. What you would all like to see is a line that goes like that [up]. Other places are doing this. Silicon Valley and Long Island. They both use social indicators. Measures of important things. In the case of Long Island, for instance: ‘Growth & Prosperity’, ‘Vibrant Communities’, ‘Healthy People’, ‘Education’, ‘Natural Resources’, ‘Management’ and so forth. The most remarkable one is Providence RI. ProvPlan. They have a website where every block, every neighborhood, every part of the community is mapped and the changes are mapped. And you can find out what is happening in your neighborhood with respect to these measures. The United Nations has a measure, its Human Development Report…human values, human capabilities, access to knowledge, a long and healthy life, a decent standard of living. And it has 3 indices: health, education and livability. We are a tiny nitch in New Jersey, NJ is a nitch in the country, the country is a nitch in the world. It is good to get out to the big scale and come back. We in Princeton should create our own questions. What should be the measures of our community? Our successes and failures? Our problems? It is not policy making. That is government. It is only useful to government policy making. One overarching point about Princeton Future is that it is not government. It is an NGO. Its purpose is to be participatory and a help to government…to help agencies. It seems that the Princeton Index might be in that line. I’d like to ask Marvin Bressler…How do you see it?
Marvin Bressler: If you sit in the shadow of one of the world’s great universities, you should not be opposed to information! I am impressed by the fact that we have discussions here on the basis, frequently, of very little knowledge, even on very basic things. As an example: If you observe migration patterns in Princeton, you observe that every morning, there are people leaving here to go elsewhere while other people are coming in here. And at night, it works the other way, they go home and other people come back. Now, that clearly has implications for a community. Even for the word ‘community’. And it we don’t know patterns of this kind, it is extraordinarily difficult to make rational decisions. In addition, there is no discipline that doesn’t benefit from taking into account progressively larger units. The example I was using in our casual conversation here is psychiatry, for example. You can’t be a Freudian without at least three people. You have to have a baby who wants to assault the father and possess the mother. You can have three. The problem is you need a fourth, because the baby needs to have sibling feelings..so you have at least 4 people and so on. And you finally end up, if you are a globalist economist, worrying about if there is a 3¢ change in the price of sugar, because that affects whether there can be a Starbucks in Kalamazoo. Now you those kinds of problems in progressively larger units which have in very tangible forms. Traffic is a good example. The problem can not be solved merely within the boundaries of the Boro and the Township. There are all those people that interfere with our pristine splendour and come in from neighboring communities. They don’t know about our geographical areas. In our discussion about taxes, we don’t know anything at all about discretionary use of funds with each additional unit of taxation. In other words, if taxes go up $500, what do you give up? Some people give up everything, they move. Some people give up the second vacation to Europe. There is a difference in those two kinds of responses. I can keep on giving examples of how it would be helpful in dealing with planning problems to have more information on hand. Fortunately one of the members of the Council of Princeton Future, Miguel Centeno, is a professor of Social Science at the University. He has agreed to lead a project in which we are going to find out as much as we can find out within our non-existent resources. There are published resources that can help. For instance, did you know that the Boro has the highest unemployment rate in the state? They count the students as being unemployed. So 50% of the population of the Boro is in dire poverty. We need to have public surveys…the whole mechanism of finding out things. We need to deal with this at the published level. From my standpoint, the interesting question is, and I hope the conversation will go that way, many of you have been concerned about particular problems for which you would like information and which in principle is accessible. I would hope that you will express those thoughts as you yourself think about the planning process and the future of the community. It would be helpful to know what priority you place on these things.
Robert Geddes:The Report to the Community by Princeton Future is before you. It describes our 8 years of work. In addition to this area by the Library, we have worked on the Hulfish North area, Y/Merwick/Stanworth area, the Witherspoon St Corridor and Nassau East. There are a number of things that are site-specific that I would categorize as spatial. It became more and more apparent that that might not be the only way to approach our thinking about the future. While the Community Master Plan was being developed, the University developed its 10-yr Campus Plan. It has provided an extraordinary opportunity where 2 plans are being worked on at the same time. We identified 8 or 9 subjects in common between those two plans. The headline was TWO PLANS, ONE OPPORTUNITY. They included things like Town & Gown relations. Town & Town relations. They included very general questions of diversity and sustainability. They included functional issues of housing, transportation and the downtown retail environment. We had forums here. For example, Rob Sokolov from the Princeton Environmental Institute made a wonderful presentation on how the residents of Princeton can reduce their carbon footprint and what does it mean to work seriously on sustainability issues. We had others speak to us about sustaining the social diversity in the community and others about the economic viability of the community. As the issues grew in complexity, we began to focus on three areas: Housing, Transportation and the Downtown. In any village or town or city, it is the relationship between where you live and where you work is the fundamental issue to the viability of the town. The transportation system is that combination of where you work and where you live. We concentrated on the 7 or 8 issues, then the 2 issues and then the one, the downtown. It became apparent that over the 8 years at every meeting the same issues arise, The problems were not specific sites, but specific functions. Perhaps the problems are structural: the way in which the community works together, the way it works with its governments, and that the structures be looked at with the actual facts and figures. And that led to a new kind of way…this is what Princeton Future is all about…a fluid, unstructured agenda…with no desire to come to a specific endpoint. We are now looking at linking together 4 aspects of our community: GOVERNMENTS…in this case plural,,,INSTITUTIONS….the University, the Choir College, the Institute, the Seminary. Those are the major institutions but there others as well. BUSINESS…my colleague, Peter Kann, tells me business is plural…merchants, property owners and corporations. And, then, COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS…There are many NGOs such Princeton Community Housing. The Chamber of Commerce. The Senior Resource Center. Princeton Future is one of them. The proposition is that these 4 ought to come together in a place of discussion and proposals dealing with planning and implementation. A place where the people of Princeton have these 4 working together. Over the past 3 months, we have been experimenting with that. We are delighted by the result. After our regular Princeton Future board meetings, once a month, we have invited the Mayor of the Boro and the Mayor of the Township, the Head of the School Board, the Senior Resource Center, PCH, the Housing Board, and members of the Traffic Transportation Committee, representatives of the Hospital, McCarter Theater, Bristol Myers Squibb, merchants and business people from the downtown… It is a small group. We meet in the small conference room upstairs: 4 parts of the community come together to address each of these 3 subjects: housing, transportation and the downtown. Ideas have been flowing. Possibilities have been coming forth. It has been an exhilarating experience…I compare that to this meeting today. This is exhilarating in another way. This meeting is open and free to all citizens. PARTNERSHIP is a more structured idea, There are partnerships in other communities that have been having great effect. The Morristown Partnership is the most famous one, A Princeton Partnership might be structured as a simple 501C3. That is what we are here today. In fact this 501C3, Princeton Future, might become the Partnership. There are other possibilities, though. The Partnership might become an improvement district. That is what happens in Morristown. The Morristown Partnership is the Morristown improvement district… A third possibility is the Partnership might become an economic development corporation…a community development corporation. Because as the economy becomes more and more evident in its issues, then economic development, which I believe is the base of all of our future, is the way to go. It might be that we do all 3. Those are the kinds of possibilities. So today, we have recorded and published the minutes of our meetings of The Princeton Partnership on the subjects of Transportation, Housing and the Downtown. They are available here at the Library. You can see in detail what was discussed. Now this comes to a recommendation. I think it is the first time Princeton Future has made a proposal saying: “This is what we recommend!” It is a recommendation to government. Ultimately, if these things are going to occur, it will occur through government. So, it is a recommendation to Boro and Township governments. We ask that you support the Princeton Partnership which includes these 4 parts: Businesses, Institutions, Governments and the Non-Profit Community
Organizations. Here are the important things: What would it do? What would it provide?
Our proposal is, first of all, that it would become the mechanism to create the Downtown Plan, as a district plan in the Community Master Plan. It would be an element. A plan for this district. It should be seen as a complement to the University’s Campus Plan, so that you would have both a University District Plan and a Downtown District Plan with coordination and collaboration between those two. In my reading of it, the Community Master Plan calls for a Downtown District Plan. Princeton Future prepared one in 2003. It was published by the Princeton Packet. It was the result of a long process in which all f the parts of the Downtown were discussed neighborhood by neighborhood. The Downtown Plan does not yet exist. So the first task of the Partnership is to create the Downtown District Plan. The second is a mechanism to work on the economy of the Downtown, the Boro and the Township to see how the future well-being of the merchants, the property owners, the downtown as a whole contributes to the well-being of the community, the tax base. The third is a mechanism to improve the transportation and mobility systems to integrate and coordinate the new systems that are evolving: the various shuttles, the Tiger Transit system of the University, to see how all of those could be woven together. And the 4th is to see how a range of types of affordable housing for families, teachers, and our workforce…What kind of mechanism is needed to achieve that? It is our belief that progress can be made. It may well be that each of these is done separately, or it may be that it can all be done together under a partnership in which the parts relate to each other. Let me give you one example that came out of our recent meetings. At our November 8th meeting, Carlos Rodriques, NJ Director of the Regional Plan Association was a table leader of a discussion on Mobility. He asked Bob Durkee, the Secretary of the University, whether it would be in the University’s interest to have the shuttle systems of the University and those of the community coordinated, integrated and managed in a coherent whole. His answer was ‘yes!’. Paul Breitman and Kristin Appelget are here. Is that right?
Robert Geddes: It is that kind of possibility that comes from having a very specific agenda for people to come together and work together. For example, if we were able to build upon the ways the University now supports its transportation system, we might be able to do in Princeton something along the lines of what Cornell University, Ithaca and Tompkins County have been able to do with their TCAT System. Tompkins Consolidated Area Transportation. [www.tcatbus.com]. We might call it PCAT. Princeton Consolidated Area Transit. This is a ‘What If?’. Students and residents get a smart card that can be used to get on the local transit system. Students ride for free. Residents pay $1.50. it is that kind of possibility that can transform the way people can live and work in greater efficiency. It will help the economy of the downtown as it helps people get into town. Similarly, if you are optimistic at all about the new administration in Washington, there may be new strategies for housing and neighborhoods. We ought to prepare our ideas and our models. As I see it, with Princeton Future and the Regional Plan Association, we have continuity in that respect, to prepare proposals and so forth. As a starting point, then, we are putting forward these 4 functional possibilities. I would now like to call a halt and ask you to look at the two questions on he back of the sheet.
1. THE PRINCETON INDEX and MOBILITY, HOUSING and DOWNTOWN.
Q: What INFORMATION would be most useful to business, to institutions, to governments?
2. THE PRINCETON PARTNERSHIP and MOBILITY, HOUSING and DOWNTOWN.
Q: What OUTCOMES, PRODUCTS, SERVICES would be most useful, to business, to institutions, to governments?
Robert Geddes: The Report to the Community before you has been written by Rick Sinding. I should mention that the influence of Robert Goheen has been enormous, in setting the moral, social direction of Princeton Future. Always holding us to that. To the point where there are our goals of Diversity, Affordability and Viability. And they are seen in the light of seeking a balance. We began focusing on the Downtown. Nassau St and Witherspoon St and there were 5 zones where development was likely. If you were to do it today, you might put the Shopping Center in and the Arts & Transit Neighborhood. With that as a background to the overall, I would like to open the floor to the questions we have asked you to think about. The 4-sided table is a metaphor for getting 4 points of view. Please give us your perspective.
Sheldon Sturges: I would just like to say that you are being videotaped and a transcription will be made available at the Library. The important thing to know about this process is that each person in the room is as important as any other person. The job is to listen to each other. I have a mike and please just raise your hand.
Bill Moran: I think you could start with a census of who lives/works in Princeton. And who lives works elsewhere. And more importantly “WHY?” In other words, some demographics… and some comments from the people themselves.
Marvin Reed: As we found o the Master Plan Committee, in dealing with both the redevelopment of the hospital site and for the University’s master plan, the people who work in Princeton, do not live in Princeton. And the people who live in Princeton, by and large, live elsewhere or work for themselves. And one the biggest problems we had with both of these big institutions, is the whole question of how they deal with their workers: the fact that they don’t live here in walking and biking distance and insist on driving their cars to and from work, creating what most of complain about…a massive traffic problem. It all comes about from that one observation: That most of the people who work here, don’t live here.
Robert Geddes: Let me jump in on that one. I think that that is a very important point, Marvin. You often ask us to think more regionally. If this is the downtown, then what is the region? There is the Rt One corridor. The towns around us. New Brunswick, Montgomery, Trenton. Much of the traffic is coming in new ways.
Joshua Zinder: I think that saying people coming from elsewhere is generating traffic is really an oversimplification of the way our community works. Many of us have families. Many of us have businesses. In order to maintain them both…I do think a critical thing in the Index is the demographics. Also, in terms of your diagram there, I think you are missing a whole section of the Downtown that extends all the way down to Harrison St.
Andrew Koontz: A couple of thoughts come to my mind. In terms of transportation and planning issues, we are talking about the folks that live here, the folks that work here. From my perspective, the downtown works as well as it does because of all of those people that just come to visit. They come to shop. Certainly, they add to traffic burdens etc. From the Boro perspective, they are a source of revenue, too, from parking. A very important source. So, if any Index is made, we need to include the visitors. The surrounding communities with growing populations don’t have attractive downtowns. So their downtown is ours. That becomes a regional issue. I am also interested in the proposal before us about creating some kind of entity in the shape of this table that would have responsibilities for the downtown. You are asking for support from the Boro and Township governments. My question is: “Is that spiritual support or financial support?”
Robert Geddes: We would hate to get financial support without spiritual support!” Andrew Koontz: My question as a government official would be: “To what extent does support for a SID or for an economic development corporation ,or any kind of entity, does support for that exist within the business community within the affected area? We have heard different things over time. I can tell you that there has been support for this particular concept on Boro Council. There are questions as to what shape would this entity take. And what would its responsibilities be and exactly what the area to e affected by it would be. The scope of its area. The scope of its responsibilities.. And the degree to which support exists for it. Those are the questions I have.
Sheldon Sturges: Those are good questions. And, I would think ongoing conversations around a four-sided table would create a consensus.
Marvin Reed: Let m expand on the comment I made before about where people lived and worked. If you talk about the downtown, where we are at this point, I think what we have discovered is that most of the people that shop in this downtown don’t live here. And the people that do live here are still ambivalent as to whether they consider most of the shoppers to be visitors as Andrew described them, or, whether they are really welcoming them. Secondly, where we are right now is only one of the downtowns that this community has. There is at least one other major downtown for this community along Harrison St. I think we have to recognize that while people who live in the town shop in both of those downtowns, there is a decided difference, and for many of those that live here, the downtown on Harrison St is what they think of as their downtown. And they only come to this downtown as a visitor only though they live in this community. If anybody doesn’t recognize the reality of this, you only have to go back to the debates we had about the location of the library when it was ro be expanded. That was the fundamental issue we had to deal with. And that discussion is manifested in other ways today, even though the decision was made in one way. The reality is there are two downtowns.
Sheldon Sturges: On Andrew’s point, the University’s Campus Plan did produce a statistic that I think is interesting: there 750, 000 visitors to the University every year. And we don’t know the number of people that Andrew is talking about. We really have no idea how many visitors are coming to our downtown who are not visiting the University. It could be a significant number.
Peter Kann: Two more things I think information would help us on. One is there seems to be at least a possibility for consolidation in this community again. For that to happen in a sensible way, it seems to me that a lot more information on the relative cost efficiency of government services by the two governments would be very useful. So you would actually know what to merge into what should there ever be consolidation. And, a second, totally unrelated thing, would be the Hispanic community in Princeton, which anecdotally, seems to be the largest growing ethnic community in the Princetons. Yet you don’t see them at meetings like this. You don’t see them represented in the political process. So who are they? Where do they live? Where do they work? To what extent are they included in this community? Or, subtly excluded?
Peter Morgan: When I think of an Index, I think of it as a resource I can easily go to and easily understand it. The University website is very transparent. If you look at it, it is amazingly transparent. Here is how they make decisions. They have outlines on how they expect to make decisions. This all from a planning standpoint. But then also who all the players are. You can understand how the system works. If an Index can be developed, it needs to be easy to understand how we can move ourselves forward to actually implement some of these ideas.
Hendricks Davis: I am glad to hear the conversation broadening. Several meetings ago, I mentioned my interest in expanding the conversation about the downtown to include other economic centers. Specifically, the shopping center. I think it is really important for us to not just stop there. We should think about an Index that provides clear information about the economic reality, the gross product of each of a variety of centers in the area. The Downtown, or Uptown, as Shirley will remind me, the shopping center and other areas of economic potential. I think there are more that exist. What does the shopping center produce in terms of resource for the businesses, the business owners, the tax base? Along with the downtown. Along with Witherspoon St. What is the potential. There is even more here. We do have some industry within the Township. That is one thing I’d take a look at. The other thing I’d mention is the potential to expand housing broadly. And, more specifically, expanding more affordable housing for purchase by low and moderate income families. I hope there is a way to get our hands around that ad not close off the potential to expand affordable housing within the Princetons, but also within the region that Bob has drawn the circle for. We need to think long term. And not short term like 10 years.
Marvin Bressler: I’d be curious about whether any body wants to know about the generational distribution beyond seniors, We don’t have the community where the young people stay in town. At least that is my impression. Does anybody care? Ought we to have some generational distribution that includes people who are younger than I, let’s say? Below the age of 50!
Sheldon Sturges: I think Marvin has a good point. There is a tendency to talk about senior overlay housing and things like that to reduce the impacts on public schools. America has been built on the idea that education is the gateway to equality and we need to keep our young families in Princeton. I think we need to figure out how to do that.
Rick Weiss: One of the areas that I am very interested in is social capital. Maybe this is a restatement of this Index, but I think it would be worthwhile to have some kind of measure of social capital that can be used over time so that you can see the impact of planning and how that increases or decreases our social capital. As you look forward to the next planning stage, you can look for the results. It comes down to, really, almost a happiness factor! The higher we can get the community to a higher level of social capital, it will make it more attractive for people to live here and ultimately, I think, whre there is a strong community that lives and works in the community. I live in the Township and work in the Boro. I keep my eye on the Tree Streets. I see my friends there with young families. Their happiness factor is way, way up! Their kids can go out. It is like when I was a kid, I could listen for other kids yelling, and I’d go out and have fun. I think that that is an important aspect of a healthy community.
Pam Hersh: I just want to say that I think the young people are here. I don’t think that they are represented at this particular meeting. I am very pleased to see o Boro Council, we have gotten a younger representation I recent years. [laughter]. We have a lot of young people involved in local politics. I think the point is you may want to figure out how to get young people involved in this process. On another point, if we look at centers, there a lot of little economic centers and we should look at them and figure out how to cultivate them in their neighborhoods. Like New York City. It forms little hubs. I think that is the key: to stimulate these centers. Let’s work on the neighborhood element.
Robert Geddes: I really agree. Neighborhoods are a much better way than thinking about housing because housing is an aspect of it. So is the social capital and the community spirit. So in almost all of our thinking, we really do emphasize what makes a neighborhood…how is it served and how is it preserved. I think that that is a very important step. All of the indices I know of: Long Island, Providence, Silicon Valley do it on the basis of what is happening to Neighborhoods.
Sheldon Sturges: If you look at the ProvPlan website, they have defined neighborhoods and those neighborhoods have created plans for themselves. If ou look at the Municipal Consolidation statute with which Marvin Reed is involved with the State, it talks about creating Neighborhood Districts. The idea is that when you are consolidating, each district can agree within itself as to what its own zoning regulation ought to be, then it is a lot easier to consolidate. If Princeton Future had a lot of money, we would hold 2-3 meetings in every neighborhood in the towns. And we could work on defining what each neighborhood wants to be. Kevin Wilkes has done a map that shows how the neighborhoods might be defined. If we could all do that, it would be a great community effort towards consolidation.
Robert Geddes: Let me read what you mentioned from the Providence Plan…”ProvPlan has six goals. Put people to work. Maintain the middle class. Make our neighborhoods safe and livable. Prepare today’s children for tomorrow’s jobs. Provide decent and affordable housing. Increase jobs and the tax base of the town.” These are all elements that are mapped as Shel said. Every single neighborhood knows how it is progressing. One thing I’d like to point out. There is a big difference between neighborhoods and districts. We have districts here. Downtown is a district. The west side is a district. Neighborhoods are very specific. For example oe of the liveliest is the Mercer Hill Neighborhood. It even has a website. It has done an architectural study of all of its parts. So we have some beginnings. I do agree with you that the neighborhood should be the basis.
Ginna Aschenfelter: I live on Mercer Hill. Right now, we would like very much for the Seminary to come up with a master plan as they expanding the library. Also, we would like Mercer St to be fixed!
All: So would we!
Sheldon Sturges: One of the efforts, Gina, is to bring all four sides of the community together. We have tried hard to invite the Seminary to engage over the last 8 years. It has been hard.
Kevin Wilkes: I think one the things an Index could do for us is to try to quantify some of the unknowns of potential build-out under existing zoning in the community. A number of us are interested in how the Boro core can grow. We’d like to encourage some projects and they shouldn’t all be like Palmer Square’s Hulfish North, creating $2.5 million dollar townhouses. It would be nice if we could create some affordable apartments for some employees who work here. Work in the Downtown. Live in the Downtown. We don’t actually have any hard data about how much space is available for build-out. It is a pretty straight forward numerical calculation that architects such as ourselves do. Possibly an Index could, for a certain core of blocks in the Downtown, as part of a District Plan, study what a build-out is if it went to the existing height limit…to the existing FAR calcs. That would allow us to analyse what our potential spatial growth could be and then we could analyse whether we need to modify our zoning in anyway to encourage or discourage potential growth. It is always good to take the time, during an economic slow down, to study these issues. Because when the economy roars back at high speed. The property owners who are laying back because it doesn’t make sense to do something right now, will be anxious to move ahead. So the Index could help address how that can be managed.
Robert Geddes: I absolutely agree, Kevin. If we were to go to the steps after the Index: Information, to Planning, to Regulation. There would be an opportunity to look at this stuff [Mobility-Housing-Economy of Downtown] in a different way. The last time we made the plan in 2003, we felt it had been built out. The relation between housing and the workplace balanced by parking. I think there could be two starting points for the next planning go round. One. The notion that it is essentially built out and we are dealing with infill. Retrofit and Infill. That would be one starting point. The second starting point: No. Build this up as a central business district. Jobs. Housing and parking related to that. That would then require a transportation system to garages that serve the district. The advantage of the first is that it would preserve Princeton as we know it. The advantage of the second is that it would provide a much greater economic base for the town and the region. So it is in the form of Recommendations to Government as to how these alternatives might evolve.
Barbara Fox: I’d like to chime in about what Mr. Zinder said before about other people being represented because I feel that if you don’t think of the outsiders who don’t live and work here, we are going to neglect our legacy. Right now, for Montgomery, this is their town center. For West Windsor, this is their town center. For South Brunswick, this is their town center. But 10 years from now, they will each have their own wonderful town centers. If you think traffic is a problem, no traffic is a worse problem! I don’t see anyone here, besides Katherine, that represents our clients who live and work outside Princeton. So maybe we need to start thinking about them.
Louis Slee: I love information. I love to gather information. I have the benefit of the internet to be able to do that. I am a natural born researcher. So I have been wrestling with the question here about the Index. I have been thinking in terms of benefits. I am wondering whether we need an index of the benefits of the community. And what form that might take. It might be a description. The Library, for example, is a benefit to the community. What does it deliver? I don’t know whether this is practical or not because you end up trying to define ‘benefits’. An Index of the positive aspects of the community might be worthwhile.
Robert Geddes: That is a very good point. One has to figure out how to do that rationally and objectively. The University did, in fact, do an impact study this spring which has a method. In both the study of impacts of the University and the Campus Plan, certain models have been set up. I think it would be a starting point for the downtown at least to match those models to see what it is here in this town that matches. We are fortunate to have Paul Breitman and Kristin with us here this morning. Would like to comment on that?
Kristin Appelget: I am here with Paul Breitman who is our Assistant Vice President for University Services. As Bob said, the University has issued an economic study recently and prior to that a Campus Plan. A tremendous amount of work went into them. We are talking about collecting data here and that study was a year of work. It took a great deal of work by myself and many colleagues along with an independent consultant. It is a difficult effort that you are talking about here. One that we felt was worthwhile to provide data points to the community about the University. Also, to some of the points you are talking about on the downtown: A very large number of our employees do live here in the Boro and Township. Over 80% of our employees do live here in New Jersey. And because of our housing policies a great deal live within 9 miles. So when you say the University and the Community, we are one and the same in many ways.
Chip Crider: I was going to save my comments for the second part, but as usual it doesn’t look as if we are going to get there now. My interest is in transportation. Looking at the whole system here, I found an interesting statistic on the web, the State had determined that traffic in Princeton will increase 55% by 20-20. Maybe the economic slow down has moved that out a couple of years. I don’t think not having any traffic is going to be a problem here. The problem will be: will it stop?…will it have a place to park? We hear a lot about the new transportation system of the University. It has just introduced a massive bus system that is fairly well planned. And we talk about integrating systems. Everyone of these systems is going to fail if Nassau St doesn’t move. And that is what is going to happen by 2020. That is the critical point. Every single possibility except one will also fail because it depends on the existing 2 dimensional public right of way. There is one system that allows you to use a 3-dimensional right of way. And that is the only one that might work for the future. But this is the point: We need to get to item #2 here, Planning. We were going full bore and all at once the air got let out of our tires. This is the time we should do the planning. We should be grappling with the issue of what is going to happen when things start back up and Nassau St doesn’t move. Because what that means is that every day in the morning and in the afternoon when we need our transportation systems the most, they aren’t going to function because they can not get through the public right of way. So, I want to encourage people to think a little further ahead than now. Integration of systems will happen. It is the longer range stuff that we have to do: 20-30 year thinking.
Marvin Bressler: It seems to me that we can deal with the obvious variables…8-10…the standard array of sociological variables. I was wondering whether there is any sentiment at all for thinking in ideal terms. That is…If you had an idea for the kind of community you wanted, what sort of information would you need for that community? The first set of concerns is “How does the community exist as it now exists?” Suppose you had some other notions. Take for example the word ‘neighborhood’ that has been used. The word ‘neighborhood’ as it has been used in our discussions is not the neighborhood I remember growing up as a child. My neighborhood was “Go out & play!”. I had 30 mothers. All of whom were privileged to tell me what to do. I was something of a hero in that community because I was universally known as a good eater. And everyone else was asked to approximate my ideal. That is an effort to reproduce kind of a 19th c. notion of what a village would be. Do we want our neighborhoods to be that way? Do we care? Do we consider that to be outside the problem of our concern? And therefore needing no more information. I think that there has to be some degree of soft conversation as well as the harder variables.
Raoul Momo: I think that the information is really critical. It is difficult to really measure benefits, especially, as the gentleman mentioned, how do you measure the benefit of the library? Princeton Future has identified some of the goals of the community. One of them was independent merchants and family businesses staying viable in town. I think some of the basic information doesn’t really exist. The Chamber of Commerce has its eye on the whole region. It is really too big. The Boro Merchants organization is really Palmer Square. The Index should do a study of the actual storefronts that exist, identifying the square footage. From my perspective, Kevin’s question is right: What is build-out for residential? And the same thing “What is build-out for commercial?” That will be very valuable. That will serve us well if we want to attract family businesses and their goods and services. Otherwise, we will have to run out to Rt One to get the things that we need to live. More traffic. The Downtown has to be viable for merchants, entrepreneurs and family businesses. We need the information to make that environment thrive. When I saw the amount of square footage for the U-Store when it opened up, I said ‘Whoa!’. Then, I read in the Packet that it is suffering. It seemed awfully big to sell the University’s merchandise, right from the beginning. It boils down to merchants, square footage and economic analysis. And, then, having The Partnership in place to develop a system to build out, not bail out. There is another comment I wanted to make about information. On Wall St, you saw this week how the market reacted negatively when it didn’t get the information from Secretary Geithner that it needs.
Katherine Kish: Last night, those of you who are PBS watchers, may have seen a documentary done by David Brancaccio, the NOW show. He was talking about regional planning. Regional transit. I live across Rt One and this is my downtown. I am on the board of Princeton Future and also represent Einstein’s Alley, a regional economic branding initiative. Brancaccio said something that is inexorable. We are going to have one hundred million new Americans in the next few decades. 100,000,000. That is going to be growth whether we want it or not. People are coming. Look out there at Rt One. What I want you to think about is that Princeton is actually the center of a three-county region. Somerset, Middlesx and Mercer. And the multiple downtowns you were talking about, Bob, are out there. Growth is coming. The question is: How do we plan for it? In order to plan for it, to speak to Kevin’s point and Raoul’s point, we need information. The planning must be done. Growth will come. How do we want to shape it?
Joshua Zinder: If possible, the conclusion of this Index might be form-based zoning. It is critical that the Index include and identify building types and typologies that exist in our communities.
Robert Geddes: That is right. What we need to get is an understanding of the physical manifestation of it. I like the fact that 3 architects are sitting next to each other. Very collaborative. Very encouraging. There are other university towns in which the patterns of buildings and the patterns of housing are pretty well-known. I would only disagree with you on one thing: an Index doesn’t come to conclusions. Index is information. It stimulates conclusions. If we were to move ahead and have time to prepare studies, I’d like to talk to you guys about it.
Charles Alden: I am also an outsider. I live in Lawrenceville. I was born in Princeton and went to Princeton High School. I have come to a lot of the Princeton Future meetings over the years. One of the things that is missing from this morning’s discussion is what is often referred to as ‘the reality of the new paradigm’. Someone has said that the traffic will increase 55%. I don’t have the information at my disposal, but if you read James Kunstler of Saratoga, NY…and perhaps Paul Krugman. You will realize that we need to think differently about how our communities are organized. We may not be driving automobiles, whether they be battery-powered or fossil fuel-powered to the extent we have in the past. The entire way of communicating between one community and another may change dramatically. So, I don’t know how Princeton Future takes that into account. It is difficult to predict the future. But that is a fact you ought to be taking it into account somehow.
Ron Nielson: Right on!
Ginna Aschenfelter: Does anyone remember Barbara Sigmund’s suggestion that we have a light rail on Rt One?
Sheldon Sturges: There is a right of way available up Rt One at least as far as the hospital for instance. It is true that Barbara talked about that. Pam, do you now about that?
Pam Hersh: There are a lot of organizations that have done a lot of wonderful regional planning studies: NJ Future, PlanSmart, the Regional Plan Association, the Central NJ Transportation Forum. I worry a little bit about re-inventing the wheel here and I urge us to work closely with organizations that have an enormous amount of data. They have looked at the 2020 date and have analyzed what is going to happen. Light rail on Rt One, the problems, the money it costs. The densityis not there to support it. Maybe when we go about doing research, the first thing that ought to be done is to try to bring together what has been done already into a cohesive form. Maybe not the neighborhoods and the downtown of Princeton, but the region has been well-studied.
Sheldon Sturges: Last night on CNN, it reported that the Stimulus Bill has $6.9 billion for public transit. It should be that this community has a proposal in within a month coordinating all those plans and actually asking for dough.
Robert Geddes: I think it time to move on to the second question: What to do with the Partnership? What its useful outcomes can be? With an emphasis on ‘useful’. Products, services outcomes and so forth. Aimed at the businesses, the institutions and the governments.
Peter Kann: Maybe a dose of realism on this second question at least, as I see it. Let’s say an outcome we mostly agreed on was that we would all like to improve the commercial districts of the downtown in a variety of ways. Some of us might define that as cleanliness and beautification, and more garbage pick-up. And some of us might define it more economically as more pedestrian traffic and more shoppers in the downtown. We might put an emphasis on expanding the diversity of the retail environment. As Raoul said, we might attempt to encourage more family-owned shops in the commercial district. A fairly simple mechanism to do things like that, that has worked in several communities around NJ, is a SID, a special improvement district. This would involve some action by government to set it up. It would involve some assessments on property owners in this defined area, perhaps modest. It could involve some support from other institutions that see benefits from making those kinds of improvements. But I think as Mr. Reed, and others here, can explain much better than I can, this idea has been around Princeton for quite awhile. And it has not happened. One is talking here about a SID budget of $3-400,000 per year for a modest SID. Where is that money going to come from? The governments, I think, would plead poverty at this point. The merchants, who would arguably benefit, are either disinterested or disorganized. So there is no organized movement of merchants to press for this. Palmer Square, which comprises a sizable component of the commercial district, already provides most of these services to most of its tenants. So it would consider itself sort of a self-contained SID and obviously doesn’t see any benefit to being assessed twice. And, Princeton University, which owns, essentially, the other half of Nassau St, would say, I believe, but they should speak for themselves, “Why should we be assessed? This ought to be an assessment on commercial property owners, not on a large non-profit property owner, other than perhaps assessing the building in which Labyrinth Books operates.” So, you wind up running afoul of the reality that, even to create a modest SID, does not have support from any of the groups in this community that in fact would benefit from it. I do not have a solution to this. I just pose it as a microcosm of the problem.
Sheldon Sturges: Peter has laid out the case pretty correctly. If there were to be a SID, and the Morristown Partnership is an example, one of the first challenges in a 4-sided kind of conversation is to decide what the geography, the boundaries of such a partnership would be. That will take lots of open meetings. The important thing that appeals to me about this kind of organization is that it is open, it is transparent, under public statute of the State of New Jersey. The Mayor, or the Mayor’s representative, is engaged in every part of the process. It is a way for the University to be present at the table. It is a way for the Seminary to be present at the table. It is a way for many elements of the business community to be present at the table: the Chamber of Commerce, Palmer Square…everybody…to really work together to form a plan. That is really our first request. It is to make a plan. A plan that includes categories of retail that the citizens of the community, the public, would like to have in their downtown. It is a way for the community to make a plan together.
Robert Geddes: Sheldon, but to do that, it is not required to have a SID. You don’t have to have a SID to make a plan.
Sheldon Sturges: Right. But it is hard to get people to the table, really working together, without it.
Robert Geddes: Bob Bruschi wrote in 2005: “What is a Special Improvement District? Sids are self-help ventures organized by property owners and local governments to identify and develop a defined area to improve the climate for business through initiating enhancements that might not otherwise be provided for by conventional means.” And then he goes on to say that you might define, as Shel points out, you might define the Sid other than this geographic boundary. There is a boundary and there is defined participation. If we were to get an update of this presentation from the government…? Mildred?
Mildred Trotman: I am not going to respond to the update because you didn’t finish your question. But I do want to underscore what Peter said earlier. For the past 25 years or so, off and on, we have discussed SIDs. As recently as 2005, there was a meeting at Boro Hall, probably leading from the report to which you refer. The public was invited. The business community. The university. Sheldon you were there. People want a SID if it means money is not coming out of their pocket. [Laughter]. It is true. I think the bottom line is that in a designated area such as the CBD, Princeton Boro would benefit from a SID. But the businessmen who were at that meeting that night were not in favor of it unless the government was going to pick up the tab, which of course the government can’t afford to do. There can be a plan. But it will be of no use unless everyone is willing to participate. In the past when this has been discussed at the Boro Council level, there have been members of Council who are in favor of a SID. But their comments are “Why am I going to go out there and fight for a SID when all of the participants who are needed to make it work are not in favor of it?” It will take a total partnership if it is going to work.
Andrew Koontz: I agree with the Mayor on that point. I just want to clarify one thing: It is not simply that the governments are crying ‘poverty’. They are also crying ‘fairness’. Because, from my point of view, what really creates the need for a SID is the Central Business District and the property owners coming to the governing body and saying that they want additional services above and beyond what other property owners in the Boro are entitled to. For example: more garbage pick-up, cleaning up the sidewalks, other things to enhance the business environment downtown. These are services that I, as a resident of the Tree Streets Neighborhood, which has been much talked about, which is a wonderful neighborhood by the way, would not receive. The Boro would not be cleaning off my sidewalk or providing other kinds of services. From my standpoint, there is an issue of fairness. That some entity would need to be created that would do a special assessment in order to provide those special services. To the extent I myself would go downtown and enjoy it more because it was cleaner etc, then, yes, in that way I would enjoy it.
Robert Geddes: Would you comment on the concept of a community economic development corporation which would serve not only the CBD but the well-being of the whole community? The possibility, then, of affecting the economic base.
Andrew Koontz: I think we have carefully examined what a SID is. I am not as familiar with a community economic development corporation and how those generally function. So I can’t comment. That is something I’d be very interested in seeing, what the differences between the two would be…or an entit we might choose to set up and how it would work. And I think that it why this proposal, you have left it very open-ended, is something I support very strongly because it isn’t pointing at any one particular direction at this time as to where we go. Maybe there is something that is more acceptable to all the players.
Sheldon Sturges: There is one thing. We have had these four conversations in the last 2 months. I think that there is broad agreement from all 4 corners that working together on the general subject of transportation is agreed.
Kristin Appelget: I’d just like to make a follow-up comment to what Councilman Koontz just said. I think he has really hit on the issue here. Prior to being at the University, I was President of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. So I have been in these discussions since 2002. The comment he just made about the merchants coming forward and asking for the additional services is the key element. Raoul has been involved and some of the other merchants have been involved in these conversations. But the vast majority have not. And the big hole in the doughnut is Palmer Square. They are not asking for additional services right now. So…when you talk about a Special Improvement District, until such time as merchants are asking for that help, it is always going to be an uphill battle.
Hendriks Davis: I think the question that Bob just posed is really important and it includes the direction, the change in paradigm, and the change in scope that we have been talking about here. I would certainly be in favor of adopting a more comprehensive zone if you will. An economic improvement zone. That could be as broad as the Princetons or beyond, so that we can take into consideration the next generations of outsiders. They become very important insiders when it comes to economic improvement, economic opportunity and economic development, economic growth. There is such potential! As I have said before, there is gold in them thar hills! And the future will bear it out. We are in a downward spiral right now. Is it going to continue forever? All Americans say “No, it is not!” We’re going to come out of this! And we had better be prepared to come out of it prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. I don’t believe we should build a fortress around our little ‘burb’ here. Let’s open up the doors to possibility. The possibility of growth and positive change. I am for thinking outside the special interest…the special development…or an area in need of redevelopment…and thinking more comprehensively.
Robert Geddes: You have often brought to our attention this viewpoint. Let me just say that it is, interestingly, not just a left or right political viewpoint. It is both. I found it out working with the Manhattan Institute, which as you know, is a very right wing outfit. Its argument for economic development and economic development corporations is very strong. The theory of it is important to the whole point. Cities are spatial concentrations of economic activity. Cities are people and other things as well. But the thing that really makes a town is the spatial concentration of economic activity. We have got to know more about that. So there is a tie-in between the second question and the first. It seems to me that an economic development corporation could also serve as a neighborhood conservation corporation…things which would be outside of commercial properties and be helpful to the community in a broader sense.
Jim Constantine: Bob, you have really pointed out this whole thing about structure because SIDS don’t deal with housing and workforce housing. If you can fold workforce housing in, what happens if you could deliver 200-400-600 workforce dwellings in a way that we get trips off of the roads. For every employee that comes in in the morning and goes out at night. We could do it in a way that deals with the mobility issues…transit coordinations…I think it is much more. The SID puts it into a small box. It doesn’t evolve it into broader thinking. It doesn’t talk about the shopping center and all of the other places.
Sheldon Sturges: The SID legislation is very flexible. The community can design it to do what the community wants it to do. That is the important thing.
Chip Crider: I am neither for or against SIDs at this point. I am still thinking about it. Let me throw a rock in the hornets’ nest. Because what I have heard clearly enunciated is that there are issues of poverty and issues of fairness. So let me throw out some possible funding alternatives. Some people are going to groan and some people might not. Well, if the issue is that the people who are getting the benefits ought to pay for them, let’s forget about a property tax assessment. Supposing we took part of the parking revenue and funded it that way? Supposing we got some sort of transportation contribution… But the one the one that I think will really work is…There are districts in the State where the sales tax is reduced to nothing. They are enterprise zones. For areas that are really in trouble. This is Marvin’s bailiwick. Do you suppose the State could be talked into giving 1/2¢ or 1¢ in a selected zone for a local improvement? This would be taxing the users and getting the money invested back where it came from.
Marvin Reed: We would not qualify for that. It is indexed to poverty ratios. That would come out of your Princeton Index that will show that we are not anywhere near the ratios that would say we are impoverished.
Chip Crider: This is something new. A planning issue. A new concept. I am not saying it is an enterprise zone. A new type of zone for a city and a region where the state could allow a portion of the sales tax collected in that area to revert back to that area to make itself better.
Robert Geddes: An interesting idea.
Marvin Reed: I would not object at all to a potion of the sales tax going back… with 1% being retained by the municipality. Princeton Boro would do beautifully here if we got 1%.
Sheldon Sturges: This is where we need good information. The 2000 Census reports that 23.3% of the population of the Borough of Princeton earns less than $25,000 per year. If you take that information to the State, we might well qualify.
Robert Geddes: I’d just like to add one point. Marvin, there is an Open Space Tax. Could there be an Affordable Housing Tax?
Marvin Reed: Nobody noticed, but there is an affordable housing tax which has recently been imposed on all commercial and basically all non-residential development that occurs. 2.5%. And if you think that people in the business community are just sitting there accepting that…They are screaming bloody murder. ..to the point where the Legislature is already considering a 2-3 year moratorium on that to stimulate the economy. The only problem with that is that they are not talking about relieving the tax for residential development. The Boro now has one. Is it 1%? When the Boro first tried to comply with the Third Round COAH requirements, put in an amount of money, about $56,000, as a minimal fee for the construction of any single-family residence and infill development. I believe it has been changed. But it exists. The fact that both of these fees apply is very helpful for developing affordable housing. But it has been a real detriment to stimulating infill…modest infill housing.
Mildred Trotman: Yes. I don’t know the exact %. For a modest infill housing unit, it would cost $57,000 that is added onto everything else. In addition to which, the 2.5% developer’s fee is a smidgeon of what it costs to build a unit in the Boro. This is especially because of the price of land. It is left to the taxpayers to make up the difference. So if any builder, and the University is here and they are a builder, pays that 2.5%, the taxpayer is responsible for picking up the difference to build that affordable unit. I have fought for affordable housing for the 25 years I have been around. But you should know those facts.
Bill Moran: I have lived and worked in Princeton most of my life. I had a small business here for 15 years. I have a very specific idea that would be a perfect fit for a community economic development corporation. I would call it a Small Business Marketplace. All that is required is 10-20k SF. Enclosed open space somewhere in town. The corporation would lease it from the local landlord and then sublet to local independent entrepreneurs, producers, retail vendors, arts, crafts, farmers…miscellaneous retail. Aiming at start-ups…incubator-type, low overhead. It would add to the vitality and to the future of small business in this town.
Robert Geddes: Very good.
—: Some of the earlier comments made it sound like, if the commercial entities weren’t willing to buy in, then it is something that shouldn’t be done. I take a different attitude. I think we are in tough times now. In relative terms, Princeton is still doing OK. But if you wait until you are in bad shape, it is too late. I think that now is the time that we should seriously be thinking about the SID and/or the development corporation, instead of just keeping the status quo. Something that is going to help us diversify.
Bob Geddes: Isn’t that what we are trying to do?
Barbara Fox: I am trying to follow this discussion. Isn’t it true that we are all debating about SIDs and how to fund them versus economic development corporations? Is that what is on the table?
Kevin Wilkes: I don’t think they are mutually exclusive.
Bob Geddes: That is right.
Kevin Wilkes: We should be discussing the merits of each one. On the SID, I just want to say that given the dynamics of the problem as presented by Peter, often when you hit an impasse in political discussions, what you really need to do is to redefine the assumptions and the perceived results for those people who are at an impasse. So what we might have to do here, if we believe that there is a collective need to focus attention and resources on the downtown, is to convince Palmer Square that there are things it can gain that it doesn’t presently have…and, to convince Princeton University that there things that Princeton University can gain, that they don’t presently do. And to convince Boro Merchants of the same thing. Conversely, you can take a strategy…I know Princeton University spends some dollars sweeping the snow off of the south side of Nassau St. ..Taking care of banners on the street. Doing some improvements on the street front. So basically they are spending some money already. If this organization were to develop the skills so that Princeton University could trust this group to do a good job, with the same level of confidence that they perform themselves, you get Princeton University to consider taking those dollars they already spend and invest them in the new group, understanding that there will be some collective benefit if everyone received those same services across this area. This points to Andrew’s discussion of fairness. Same thing with Palmer Square. They spend a lot of money collecting their own trash. It is a very sophisticated trash collection system. Well now, I am sure Mr. Newton, being the businessman that he is, could save a few dollars and get the same results. The savings would come from having everyone in town following the same system. You might persuade him. I know it will be tough. So possibly, what we need to do is redefine these assumptions. Target the dollars that are already being spent. Don’t ask people to spend new dollars. Spend dollars more efficiently that are already being spent. Clearly, Princeton University and Palmer Sq are skeptical because they already perform these services. They perform them because they need them and they weren’t being performed by any other group or government to their satisfaction. So this SID, were it to be successful, would have to show an extraordinary level of competence…to perform these tasks in such a way as Princeton University and Palmer Square would have a big improvement. I want to point out that government is neither poverty-stricken or rich. We are merely the holders of your tax dollars for a few months. We collect and spend them on your behalf. We are the reflection of your community, your investment. Our job is to spend your tax dollars as wisely as we can. If the SID can be defined as a way to spend those dollars more wisely, I think we can bring the support to the table to make this happen. We haven’t made the case yet.
Sheldon Sturges: It takes a line-by-line budget.
Andrew Koontz: I agree with Kevin and all of the points that he made. One of the things that became clear to Boro Council during the presentation a few years ago: in the end it is on us. We, as Boro Council, can decide that the SID will be such and such. It will cover such and such an area. It will assess this amount of money. And, if we had four votes, we would ordinance it. I think to its credit, Boro Council doesn’t generally operate that way. What we like to see is a degree of consensus and support built in the community for whatever entity it is before we just go ahead and enact things. There were some Council members who thought we should just go ahead because the SID is the best thing for the community. We didn’t do that and it was very likely the correct direction to go in at the time. I am very interested in hearing about other entities and how they can be set up and how they might work better than a SID. The other issue that hasn’t come up: We haven’t talked a lot about Community NGOs. They are under very heavy stress right now with the downturn in the economy. We keep talking about the lack of affordability here in Princeton. For non-profits that exist in the community, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay here. I think, we as a community, have an interest in having them stay here, having them housed here. I think that is something that Princeton Future can begin to take a look at as well. How are we going to provide a place for non-profits to serve this community. They are seeing plummeting contributions.
Mildred Trotman: I want to make one important point. It is great the way all of the entities are spread out this morning: the Community NGOs, the Governments, the Institutions and Businesses. Let us all just remember that we are all in this together. If it is going to work, we are going to have to work it out together. If it doesn’t work, we all fail. If it works, we all benefit from it. Let’s just keep that in mind as we go for whatever it is we are going to end up with. We are in this together. So it should behoove each of us to work together.
Robert Geddes: I wonder if this isn’t a wonderful time to thank everyone who has come and let us leave with that hope in mind. Thank you all.