Food Fridays In Downtown Pottstown, June 27th

Smith Family Plaza – 100 E High Street, Pottstown

Come Downtown and “Eat Like A Local!” 

Join our downtown restaurants, Argento’s, Grumpy’s, Lily’s Grill & The Milkmen Lunch Co. for a taste of their fare, LIVE music by ‘Bees in a Bottle’ and your community for lunch outdoors THIS FRIDAY, June 27th, between 11:00 am – 2:00 pm (music between 11:30 am – 1:30 pm)

We promise nice weather and the perfect scenery to enjoy lunch, friends and neighbors!

p.s. The RESTAURANTS WILL ALSO BE OPEN if you want to visit them inside as well!

ADDITIONAL DATES PLANNED – July 18, August 15 & September 19th

We are looking for additional local bands – if you know someone and they can play any of the above

dates, please let Sheila Dugan know – 610-323-5400 / sheiladugan@comcast.net

Sponsored by Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority

Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. Debuts New E-Zine In Collaboration With Major Borough Stakeholders

Momentum - One Good Things Leads to Another

 

WELCOME TO MOMENTUM, a quarterly publication from Partners for Success, a collaborative of organizations with the common objective of celebrating the stories that make us proud of Pottstown. We salute the residents, business owners, and other stakeholders making Pottstown better every day. In Momentum, you’ll discover stories about business development; recreation and healthy lifestyles; education; and arts and culture.

Founding Partners

To read the first edition, click here:  http://www.paidinc.org/momentum.php

Scroll down to Latest Edition:  Spring 2014 – Download (PDF file)

 

To visit PAID’s website, click here:  http://www.paidinc.org/

 

We give two Roy’s Rants thumbs up for the collaboration between stakeholders and for getting serious about marketing Pottstown to potential businesses and investors.  This is a welcome step forward!

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Parking In Downtown Pottstown – Snow Rules Reminder

PLEASE REMEMBER SNOW RULES IF YOU ARE PARKING ON HIGH STREET IN THE NEXT TWO DAYS.

Parking areas should be left free of cars along High Street WHEN THE STORM ENDS – we do all we can to clear those areas, quickly and efficiently.

Any questions, feel free to contact Sheila Dugan at 484-948-6061. PLEASE USE THE LOTS AVAILABLE. Thank you in advance!

PS. Don’t forget to warm up this Saturday at The Soup Bowl Fund Raiser - www.ARTFusion19464.0rg

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Pottstown Poised To Fill Vacant Authority, Commission Posts

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — Although borough council wasted little time in filling the tax collector vacancy Wednesday night, there are still a few vacant positions up for grabs.

As part of the annual process of filling posts on boards and commissions, council will vote Monday on filling nine open spots, with a 10th vacancy being filled in February.

One seat on the Pottstown Borough Authority is open and two people have applied to fill it. It is currently filled by plumber Aram Ecker, who is seeking a second five-year term. However, newly elected Borough Councilwoman Sheryl Miller has also asked to be appointed.

With Miller’s defeat of Jeff Chomnuk for the third ward seat on council, the authority board currently has no member of borough council, a role Chomnuk had filled.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140110/pottstown-poised-to-fill-vacant-authority-commission-posts

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A Public Service Announcement From The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA)

POTTSTOWN, PA – SNOW IS ON IT’S WAY – PLEASE If you plan to park along High Street between York and Evan’s, please go to the various municipal lots so that the parking areas can be cleared of snow as easily as possible. PENNDOT only plows the center lane for us. PDIDA must do the rest, it will be best for all if we can manage a few hours in the lots, clear the streets without issue and then park again on High – Please share this information if you can so things go smoothly. If 5″ or more is laid, we will begin snow removal as quickly as possible. Thanks everyone for your cooperation!

Specific municipal lots are assigned to the 100, 200, and 300 hundred blocks of High Street. Vehicles which park overnight on the 100 block of High Street are assigned to the parking lot across the tracks from the old train station. In the 200 block, cars are assigned to the lot behind American Cash Traders and cars from the 300 block should park in the Evans Street lot.
Questions? Please call Sheila at 610-323-5400 or 484-948-6061.

Pottstown Merchants Will Take To The Streets Saturday

Picture 580POTTSTOWN – Summer is time for savings in downtown Pottstown, especially this Saturday when the annual Sidewalk Sale takes to the streets from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Main Street Manager Sheila Dugan, the day will include offers from more than 40 downtown merchants, as well as face painting, a visit from Rainbow the Clown and collections of Pottstown School uniforms.

Demonstrations will be provided by CrossFit at 21 N. Hanover St. at 12:45, 2:45 and again at 4 p.m.

Also providing demonstrations at 307 E. High St. will be Red Cloud Kung Fu at 12, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Read more:  http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/pottstown-merchants-will-take-the-streets-saturday-0/1

Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) Is On The Move!

180933_10150092018677029_7436728_nLike the little engine that could, Sheila Dugan has taken the throttle of the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) and is chugging uphill toward her vision of a revitalized central business district.

Unlike Main Street Managers in the past, this dynamo hit the ground running and is pulling PDIDA into the 21st century at warp speed.  The PDIDA board has been reorganized, assessments are being collected, activities are being scheduled and a new cooperation is being fostered between PDIDA, borough hall, PAID, the TriCounty Community Network and other entities in Pottstown.

Sheila actually lives in Pottstown, is a downtown business owner (she and her husband own Grumpy’s) and her children attend the Pottstown School District.  Sheila is INVESTED in Pottstown (a missing component in past Main Street Managers).

The perception of business owners in the downtown, by the general public, is poor.  Sheila is trying to raise awareness that most businesses downtown are Mom and Pop operations.  In many cases, one owner, one employee.  Trying to “do it all” six days a week from open to close does not leave much time for people to attend PDIDA meetings (or much of anything else).

To combat the time problem, Sheila has come up with an innovative solution – block captains.  The block captains will talk with their assigned business owners and attend the meetings to speak for the group they represent.  The block captains will then convey the meeting results back to their group.  Email is also being used to keep PDIDA members updated, in addition to block captains and meetings.

Sheila has been working closely with the Pottstown Police Department and Borough Manager Mark Flanders toward a solution for the vagrant problem downtown.  Sheila said Mark Flanders and the Pottstown Police Department have been extremely helpful and cooperative in working toward a solution for this problem.  You will see more police officers downtown walking a beat along with other measures that are aimed at making the downtown clean, safe and a welcoming atmosphere for shoppers, arts and restaurant patrons.

PDIDA is also working with the numerous social services agencies in Pottstown.  These agencies will also play a role in managing the homeless and idle population that have been congregating downtown and hampering revitalization efforts.

Sheila works hand-in-hand with Pottstown Area Industrial Director Executive Director Steve Bamford to help market Pottstown and fill empty store fronts with new businesses.  She said Steve Bamford has been great to work with.  Marketing Pottstown is not an easy job.

Another important cooperative effort taking place is between the Pottstown Codes Department and PDIDA.  Every building within the PDIDA zone is being reviewed and code violations are being identified where they exist.  Clean and safe buildings are certainly more appealing to consumers!

Like many organizations, PDIDA has lost a large percentage of its funding.  Sheila said individual and corporate sponsors are desperately needed as well as volunteers.  For example, the PDIDA office downtown needs volunteers to help staff the office.  Sheila is also working on fundraising efforts and is applying for grants to help fund events and projects.

While we are on the subject of funding and budgets, Sheila is Pottstown’s official Main Street Manager but receives only a fraction of the salary the former managers were paid.  This is due to the loss of funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for the Main Street Program.  Pottstown is fortunate to have someone willing to take on this herculean task, put in the time, do the hard work and get results on a shoestring budget.

One last thing before I give you a list of upcoming events downtown.  A while ago, one of my readers asked me if the façade program was still in existence.  I emailed the former Main Street Manager, identified myself and posed my reader’s question.  I never received the courtesy of a reply.  I asked Sheila about this during our conversation and she told me that the façade program does indeed still exist and there is still money available.

Some exciting PDIDA events to look forward to include:

June 8 – 2nd Annual Iron Horse, motorcycle show

June 20 – Rumble Downtown (includes Misty May-Treanor and live music).

July 20 – 2nd Annual Sidewalk Sale

October 12 – 6th Annual Riverfest – PDIDA is taking on this event and adding an evening component from 6pm – 8pm which will include live bands, artists, beer garden, a Bike/Art event and a TriPAC show at 8pm. Downtown restaurants will be participating.

Sheila said she is always looking for participants, live music, artists and street performers for PDIDA events.  I will again put in a plug for individual and corporate sponsors.

The Pottstown Visitors Center aka the PDIDA office is located at 17 North Hanover Street in downtown Pottstown.  The phone number is (610) 323-5400.  Sheila Dugan is the Main Street Manager and her direct line is (484) 948-6061.  The website is http://downtownpottstown.org/

Pottstown Small Business Cash Mob Helps Local Economy

Small Business Saturday Cash Mob total dollars spent rounded to the nearest dollar: $4,250.00

*”Ripple-effect” from those dollars being spent locally on Small Business Saturday: $7,012.50!!

Thanks for your support!

Cash Mob Results

Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority Finds Volunteers In Pottstown Youth

Great feel good story about PHS students who are working with PDIDA as volunteers to keep downtown Pottstown looking great!

You can read the inspiring story here:

http://rootsofrevitalizationinpottstownpa.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/pdida-working-with-students-to-better-pottstown/

More Appointments Made At Tonight’s Pottstown Borough Council Meeting

Two new members were appointed by Council tonight:  one for the Planning Commission and one for PDIDA.

Joe Loftus was appointed by Council to fill a vacant term on the Pottstown Planning Commission to expire February 1, 2013.

Susan Storb was appointed by Council to fill a vacant term on the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority expiring on January 1, 2013.

In other PDIDA news Shiela Dugan addressed Council during the Comments From Citizens Present.  Shiela Dugan is the new President of PDIDA after the April meeting when the authority reorganized.  Shiela told Council that the fundraising and marketing committees were reorganized, work has begun on this year’s 2011 Hometown Holiday Celebration and a merchant mentoring program has been started.  Shiela thanked the PHS students in attendance for their two-year commitment to do weekly cleaning around the borough.  A half-dozen youth wearing yellow tee-shirts were at tonight’s meeting. Shiela stated a check for $300 check was received by PDIDA from a local business.

Shiela urged Council to vote yes on agenda item 7 and approve the matching funds for the DCED grant for PDIDA.

Pottstown Mayor Storms Out Of Council Meeting After PDIDA Vote

Pottstown Mayor Bonnie Heath stormed out of tonight’s Pottstown Borough Council meeting after agenda item 7 did not pass (followed by her husband who made a derogatory remark about Council’s collective intelligence).  A roll call vote was requested by President Toroney.   The vote went as follows: Chomnuk – No, Gibson – Yes, Kirkland– Yes, Rhoads – No, Weand – No, Toroney – No.   Councilor Allen was absent.

During the Mayor’s lengthy report, Bonnie spent a great deal of time asking Council to vote yes for agenda item 7 which was a resolution authorizing the filing for funds with Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) in the amount of $60,000 for the Main Street, Exit Grant, New Communities program.  What this means to the average taxpayer is that by voting yes the Borough of Pottstown would have been on the hook for the $60,000 matching funds if the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) failed to raise the other $60,000.  If PDIDA failed to raise the necessary $30,000 contribution each year, the Borough of Pottstown, by default, would have had to match the DCED grant.

The Finance Committee recommended that Council vote no because there is too much risk to the Borough to move forward, according to Finance Chairman and Fifth Ward Councilor Dan Weand.  The confidence in PDIDA’s ability to match this grant is very questionable.  According to Mayor Heath, PDIDA’s assessments would generate $42,000 a year leaving a positive balance for PDIDA of $12,000 each year.  Mayor Heath said there is no risk to Pottstown to approve this grant match because the DCED felt PDIDA would be able to match the funding based on their assessment figures.

President Toroney said PDIDA should look more toward volunteerism instead of paying a Main Street Manager.  He referenced Pottstown’s Riverfront Park as an excellent example of volunteerism.  President Toroney also said that Council does support PDIDA and downtown Pottstown, however, in this instance the majority of Council feels the financial risk is too great.  Councilor Kirkland said he was confident that PDIDA would be able to raise the needed funds.  Councilor Gibson said he supported PDIDA and voted yes for the resolution but did so “hoping” he made the right decision.

The majority of this money goes to pay the Main Street Manager’s salary.  Frankly, my experience with Mr. Wildrick is that he does not return emails.  Other than purple lights on the trees downtown and the Hometown Holiday events in December, did we get our bang for the buck in a year and a half?????  Evidently there are four members of Council who have the same question.  The other project Mr. Wildrick was working on was a skyline project to outline the downtown buildings like Boat House Row.  While this is a cool idea, it might make more sense to have a full downtown before we worry about ambient lighting.

Councilor Rhoads wondered how many businesses downtown are doing well.  If a number of businesses close that would hamper PDIDA’s ability to generate the sufficient funds to pay the DCED grant match.

President Toroney also stated that PDIDA needs to come up with a vision and a long-range plan.  We agree.

Councilor Gibson made the suggestion that PDIDA expand their territory to include more businesses in Pottstown.  The example he gave was the High Street Redner’s.   Redner’s makes money and as a company they give money to community projects and events in the form of corporate sponsorships.  Councilor Gibson said there are businesses that would love to be allowed to join PDIDA but are outside of their limited territory.

This vote means that unless PDIDA finds private sector funding (which is available) they will not have the funds to pay the Main Street Manager’s salary.

My suggestion to PDIDA is that you contact places like Lancaster and York, who have strong downtown organizations, and see what information you can glean from them.  I am sure they would gladly be of assistance and would be a wealth of information.

My other suggestion is that Mayor Heath should receive a formal reprimand from Council for leaving the meeting before adjournment.  As Councilor Gibson stated, every vote does not go his way but he respects the opinions and decisions of his fellow Councilors and does not get mad about it.  Councilors Rhoads and Weand echoed Councilor Gibson’s sentiments and were thanked by President Toroney.

Mayor Heath is an elected official who has an obligation to attend these meetings.  Because there were only six Councilors in attendance this evening, had there been a tie vote, the mayor casts the tie-breaking vote.  By leaving after agenda item 7, the mayor missed the voting for the remaining six agenda items! 

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!