Soud­er­ton to study pos­si­ble busi­ness im­prove­ment dis­trict

Souderton Independent - - NEWS - By Bob Keeler

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.

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