(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman on Friday questioned how the Christie administration could possibly claim renaming the War Memorial and shuffling state museum control could revitalize Trenton as the governor also seeks to strip the capital city of vital and deserved financial assistance.

“Arguing that renaming buildings and slapping together plans to switch control of the state museum would help revitalize our capital city, while at the same time stripping Trenton of vital police and fire protection services, ignores reality,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “Residents won’t care what a building is called when they don’t have enough police to respond to their emergency.”

Christie’s budget calls for cutting $42 million provided to Trenton to help it as the capital city, where state buildings are tax-exempt yet require numerous city services. Despite that cut, the Department of State, in testimony and information provided to the Assembly Budget Committee, contends the governor’s plan to have Rutgers take control of Thomas Edison State College and the state museum, while renaming the War Memorial as the Veterans Memorial Arts Center and privatizing it, would play into “the ongoing cultural and economic revitalization of Trenton.”

The budget also eliminates funding for the Old Barracks Museum.

“The Old Barracks survived the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, but may not survive the Christie administration,” Watson Coleman said. “No matter how the governor may pitch it, cutting off funding for crown jewels of American history and renaming a building does not invigorate a city. Neither students nor visitors will want to visit a city weakened by Gov. Christie’s irresponsible budget cuts.”

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