James Pirrung 03:48, 12 April 2007 . . JaMikePA . . 2,304×1,728 (5.97 MB) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Good organizations evolve to meet changing times.
Three years ago, the Lancaster Alliance scaled back the broad reach that had established the city’s security camera network and helped find a home for the Lancaster Barnstormers.
In an era of diminishing resources, it would not duplicate efforts being done by other groups. The alliance board chose to work behind the scenes with a focus on city public safety, finances and forging partnerships with other organizations.
Six years ago, it was the James Street Improvement District that changed. The northwest city group expanded its reach to take in the duties of the Downtown Investment District under a contractual arrangement.
Editor’s note: This is phenomenal advice for all downtown shopping districts and their umbrella organizations i.e. Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority.
Lancaster and its James Street Improvement District are prime examples of living by these three simple rules! I suggest a field trip for any struggling downtown merchants or downtown organizations who want to see what is possible!
I call this the 7-8-7 rule because of the three most important statistics that make a downtown a successful and vibrant destination. Think of your favorite destination downtowns. Are they beautiful? Do they feel safe? Are there things to do after 6:00 pm?
It is always nice to see an improvement in service while reducing costs. The Lancaster Parking Authority has done just that by replacing security details patrolling the parking garages in center city by car with security officers on bicycles. It is felt that the officers on bicycles are highly visible and approachable if help is needed by a customer.
The reason for this change was not due to any increased criminal activity. The change was made to improve customer service and safety. The side benefit is saving the Parking Authority money. The city has contracted these services through Allied Barton. The decision to go with Allied Barton was made using advice from Lancaster PD, Franklin & Marshall College and Lancaster General Hospital, as well as the Parking Authority.
Two officers were contracted for $70,000 through Allied Barton and will work 11 hours shifts riding around downtown Lancaster’s five garages, being highly visible in their yellow shirts. The security officers carry handcuffs and mace. In the event backup is needed, the Parking Authority bike officers will contact the James Street Improvement District bicycle ambassadors as first responders. City police are only contacted as needed. The James Street Improvement District already uses Allied Barton for their bicycle ambassador program.
This program will save the Parking Authority $10,000 to $20,000 per year by substituting Allied Barton staff for Parking Authority staff. Allied Barton specializes in security and the Parking Authority specializes in parking cars so the change makes sense. It is expected that the new bike team will put 40 miles per day on their bikes while patrolling.
The Lancaster Mayor’s office has a Special Events division. Their mission is to “host, create and produce special events for the City of Lancaster, promote and market them, and act as a resource to others planning special events”. MOOSE exists to create excitement and enthusiasm about Lancaster City.
Lancaster hosts seven yearly events for its citizens and visitors, which are a joint effort between MOOSE and the James Street Improvement District. Lancaster successfully turned around their downtown by identifying an Improvement District and then expanding it. Lansdale’s goal was to learn from Lancaster’s successes and adapt them to fit Lansdale.
(HINT) Since these people take their show on the road, Pottstown should invite them here and see what they have to say. Lancaster’s vibrant downtown is the envy of most cities and towns in this state!