Souderton to study possible business improvement district
With government funGing for revitalization programs in SouGerton anG TelforG Grying up, one of the other possibilities being eyeG is a Business ,mprovement DistriFt.
“They FoulG beFome the SouGerton-TelforG Main Streets all over again, Must as a B,D insteaG of what we are now,” -eff Gross, former chairman of the local Main Streets group anG a SouGerton Borough FounFilman, saiG at FounFil’s Sept. 17 aGministrative work session.
At its OFt. 1 meeting, Founcil will vote on the next step in the process of considering a B,D — approving two grants that woulG be useG to hire a Fonsultant to stuGy anG make recommendations for a SouGerton B,D, Mike Coll, borough manager, saiG. One is a feGeral grant for $25,000, anG the other is a $5,000 state grant that Fan be useG for the borough’s matFhing funGing reTuirement in orGer to get the federal grant.
“Whether it ever gets implementeG will be up to the business Fommunity to GeFiGe,” Coll saiG.
AttenGees at a -une 2011 meeting in SouGerton leG by Bill Fontana, exeFutive GireFtor of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, were tolG that each property owner in a proposeG B,D gets a vote anG if no more than 40 perFent of the properties give written notice of opposing the plan, it is approved.
The property owners in the district pay a yearly fee and, in return, reFeive speFifieG services.
“,t’s for the businesses, run by the businesses, funGeG by the businesses to Go exaFtly what the businesses want Gone with their funGs,” Gross saiG.
The five most commonly funGeG aFtivities from B,D money were sidewalk improvements, seFurity, strategic planning and advocacy, marketing anG business assistance, according to information given at the 2011 meeting. StatewiGe, the average fee paiG by owners of property in a B,D was $1,006.44, but the meGian was $285, with half paying more than that and half less, according to the information.
The types of service that FoulG be proviGeG to a SouGerton B,D inFluGe Moint aGvertising that aiGs small businesses that woulG have more GiffiFulty marketing the business on their own, Gross said.
“There’s all sorts of things they FoulG Go to bring people to town,” he saiG.
The Fonsultants will survey the Fommunity, make reFommenGations for the bounGaries of the B,D anG FontaFt the property owners to provide information on the proposed B,D, Gross saiG.
The OFtober meeting will not inFluGe hiring a Fonsul- tant, Coll saiG. Proposals from companies interested in Going the Mob woulG first have to be sought, he saiG.
Even if the B,D is not approveG by the property owners, it’s still good to have the stuGy FompleteG, Gross saiG.
“,t Fan be put on the shelf and revisited again when they feel there’s a neeG for it,” he said.
Doing the stuGy now means the businesses Gon’t have to pay for it, but if it weren’t Gone now anG there were a future decision to have it done, the businesses likely woulG have to pay at that time, he said.
“This opportunity won’t Fome again beFause these grants are Gisappearing,” Gross said.