Newtown Business Development Council
Minutes for the Meeting held on January 3, 2008
Present: Michael Solomon, Wayne Bishop, Marge Frederick, Hal Roberts, Dick Weaver, Chris Ortwein, Joseph S. Czajkowski, John Boyle, Kent Lufkin, George Wilson, Sheldon Kirk
Call to Order: Chairman Weaver called the meeting to order. He introduced and welcomed new Township manager Joseph S. Czajkowski.
Public Comment: None
Codes Department Business Development Report
Director of Planning & Zoning Mike Solomon presented the report, covering November & December 2007, noting that Richman’s Ice Cream Store had been approved for Newtown Plaza Shopping Center but that there was not much else new to report.
Approval of the Minutes
Ms. Frederick made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 1, 2007 meeting as presented. Mr. Wilson seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce
Marge noted the upcoming Percolator meeting would be held at Penn Ryn on January 10, 2008 at 8:00 am; information and details about all LBCCC events is available on the website: www.lbccc.org.
Ms. Ortwein announced that the Joint Downtown Newtown Corporation has changed its name to Newtown Corporation, to reflect the change in its scope beyond the downtown area to the Newtown business community. She said that the organization wanted to include the business commons in its initial efforts, but that the Main Street program had limited the program’s scope to the downtown area.
She noted the recent Stakeholders Report for 2004-2007, which is available in digital format for anyone interested. Ms. Ortwein said the state’s Main Street program funding covered five years and that the Newtown Corp. has been building its fundraising efforts as it will become self sufficient. These efforts include $60,000 raised for a matching exit grant from the state, which should sustain the organization for the next three years.
Ms. Ortwein noted that Mr. Weaver had joined the Newtown Corporation in mid-2007 and is expected to be the new chairman. She noted that the Corporation had recommended to the township the appointment of Frank Tyrol and Michael Leone to its Board of Directors. The Newtown Corporation website is: www.newtownpa.us.
Newtown Business and Professional Association
It was noted that the next Business Card Exchange will be January 8 at the Temperance House, and the January breakfast meeting will be on January 22, 2008 at 7:30 am at Chandler Hall. Information about the association and its events is available at the NBPA website: www.newtownbpa.org.
Newtown Business Development/Newtown Business Commons Association
Mr. Weaver noted that the Economic Development Committee had been started about three years ago in part to address the vacancies in the Business Commons. He and then township manager Bob Pellegrino announced that businesses interested in coming to Newtown could meet with him and other township officials to get help in expediting the process; the goal was to shorten the subdivision and land development process and make it more efficient. The industrial park changed its name to the Newtown Business Commons, and the township courted technology and revised zoning for the area. Mr. Weaver noted that the Business Commons generates $2.2M in ratable, which should soon total $3.M. He noted that the Borough is working on remaining a retail and restaurant center, and that Newtown has an advantage over New Hope in that its retail area is more compact rather than linear. Mr. Weaver said that the entire business community, encompassing the township and borough, is beginning to be considered as a single target area.
Mr. Weaver said that as the Business Commons changed and its mission was complete, the Economic Development Commission was phased out. He suggested that the Newtown Corporation join with the Business Development Council and Economic Development Commission to work with the township and borough and the entire business community. Mr. Weaver said he has met with Ms. Ortwein to discuss the future of the BDC meetings, whether they should be breakfast or luncheon meetings or meet monthly or quarterly. It was the consensus of those present that luncheon meetings were best and that quarterly meetings would be appropriate, meeting in February, May, August and November. It was suggested that speakers and increased publicity for the meetings would help increase exposure and attendance for the meetings. The issue will be further discussed among the relevant organizations and details worked out by the Newtown Corporation Board.
Mr. Weaver noted that he and Ms. Ortwein had presided at ribbon cuttings for the Cosi Café and Prestige Bank and that the hotel construction is beginning. It was noted that the Frankford Hospital will be building a hospital at the corner of Stony Hill Road and the Bypass, and that McGrath intends to develop the old Acme site in accordance with the original visioning by the township.Mr. Weaver noted the new bus shelter in the Commons; an additional shelter may be located near the hotel. He reported that the township wants to proceed with the engineering of the Terry Drive extension; and that the Borough needed to pass a resolution to proceed with Representative Steil’s efforts towards funding for a parking garage downtown. Mr. Weaver said that Allan Smith wants to move the liquor store and beer distributor up to the street, which coincides with the PA State Liquor Board’s plans to upgrade their stores.
The next scheduled BDC meeting will be Thursday, February 8, 2008 at Dolce Carini Restaurant, 2821 S. Eagle Road.
On motion by Ms. Frederick and without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
Leslie P. Dunleavy, Recording Secretary