NEWTOWN BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
LUNCHEON MEETING AT GOODNOE FARM DAIRY BAR
THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2005
Approval of the Minutes: Ms. Frederick moved to approve the minutes of the July 7, 2005 meeting as presented. Mr. Salvatore seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Present: Dick Weaver, Hal Roberts, Thomas Harwood, Mary Ann Broderick, Marge Frederick, Brandon Wind, Wayne Bishop, Bob Michaud, Kent Lufkin, Dan McCloskey, Chris Ortwein.
Call to Order: Mr. Weaver called the meeting to order.
Codes Department Business Development Report
Mr. Harwood distributed and reviewed the report for June 2005, noting the change of the Texaco station on Sycamore Street to a Shell station.
Approval of the Minutes
Ms. Frederick moved to approve the minutes of the June 2, 2005 meeting as presented. Ms. Broderick seconded; the motion carried unanimously.
Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce
No report. Information and further detail about all LBCCC events is available on the website: www.lbccc.org.
Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation
Main Streets Manager Chris Ortwein reported that there was one new business in the last quarter, Salon Prive, that Angelic Fascination had closed and Expressions Gallery had moved to Doylestown. She also noted that there is a new home decor store called The Nest on State Street. Ms. Ortwein said that the façade grant program has been quire exciting, with $10,700 being disbursed for projects totaling $43,493. She said that two façade grants had been awarded to projects on Sycamore Street, for an awning at Tasteful Teas and a sign at Freestyle Salon. Ms. Ortwein reported that $600 in Bucks Beautiful funding had been received for urban gardens in the Borough, and that JDNC volunteer hours for the last quarter totaled 353, valued at $6195.
Ms. Ortwein said that the Main Streets Program has been holding ribbon cutting ceremonies for new businesses downtown and will hold such events for businesses on Sycamore Street as well; the first such event would probably involve Tasteful Teas on the corner of Swamp Road. JDNC Administrative Assistant Leslie Dunleavy reported that she has been working on a “Guide to Doing Business in Newtown Township,” which should be on the Main Streets website www.newtownpa.org in the near future; a similar guide is being developed for the Borough as well.
Ms. Ortwein said they have been looking at parking downtown, noting that parking needed to be managed better, better signage was needed, and that the public needed to become more aware of available parking.
Newtown Business and Professional Association
Mr. Wind noted the next Business Card Exchange would be held at O’Youville Manor from 5:00 – 7:00 pm on Tuesday, July 12th. He said that the new motorcycle shop on Sycamore Street had approached NBPA about a motorcycle show in Newtown; township and borough officials are considering the idea. Mr. Wind said some motorcycles might be included in the upcoming car show/summer festival on July 24th. He noted that the NBPA’s Community Directory should available in a month or two. Information is available at the NBPA website:www.newtownbpa.org.
Economic Development Commission
Mr. Weaver reported that there is not much happening now. He noted that the Newtown Business Commons Association (NBCA) meets on the first Monday of the month at the Law School Admissions offices. Mr. Weaver said the NBCA is working with JDNC regarding signage, looking at directory signs in the Commons, larger building numbers, and a logo and letterhead.
Mr. Lufkin said they would be discussing the association’s mission and goals, working to increase communication and participation in the Business Commons. He said they may hold a job expo/fair to showcase the businesses. Mr. Lufkin said there may be 0% vacancy; however, Mr. McCloskey said he thought there were a few vacancies.
Mr. Weaver said they were working to complete Cam Triollo’s office spaces, and that Johnson & Johnson was interested in bringing in 300 employees in the first quarter. Mr. McCloskey noted that there was a lot of interest in the office park, a lot of local moves. It was noted that the cost of office space in Newtown was approximately $20-$21/sq. ft. Mr. McCloskey said that warehouse costs in Bristol and Bensalem was $3.50-$4.00/sq. ft., with office space approximately $15-$18/sq. ft.
Mr. Weaver said that the Stockburger survey had been posted by the mailing house without a stamp on the return envelope and that a stamped envelope would be mailed to survey recipients. Ms. Ortwein noted that it was difficult to h old the information sessions, as speculation can’t be considered. She said the first session was held to gather concerns and the second session relayed information to address those concerns; there were approximately 100 attendees at the first session, 135 at the second. Mr. Weaver said it was difficult speaking to reporters, who posed tough questions and seemed to be looking for controversy.
Mr. Weaver noted that Acme site clean up should begin as soon as the contractor has left, probably the beginning of September. Mr. Roberts said that the reduction of lanes and bump out at the Mobil station on Sycamore Street was problematic. Mr. Weaver said that it was done to make the area more pedestrian friendly, but that the Township had received complaints from the Council Rock School district and St. Andrews; they will wait until the completion of the project before addressing these issues.
The next scheduled BDC meeting will be Thursday, September 1, 2005.
Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
Leslie Dunleavy, Recording Secretary