Merchant Mixer notes (1): New businesses, landscaping, parking, signage and dog poop.
Merchant Mixer notes (2): Empty storefronts, Harvest Homecoming and Bob Caesar's all-way street confusion.
Following are the official minutes, as submitted by Pam Peters. Your attention is drawn to one passage:
It was mentioned that one way streets are the best way to move traffic through. However, most merchants don’t want that. They want to see traffic stop and shop.Mama, there goes that word: "Most." Let's now return to Bob Caesar's utterance during the same meeting:
"Change every street to two way (but) not Pearl Street. Pearl Street will NOT be two way."So, don't just take my word for it: These official and generally dispassionate meeting notes deftly reiterate that Bob Caesar is completely out of touch with what the new generation of downtown merchants really wants when it comes to revitalization that's good for business.
How does Caesar's self-centered position constitute leadership?
Don't waste your time looking for excuses, because it does not. Nothing new there, either -- and that's the recurring, eternal problem. If CM CeeSaw can't or won't lead, here's a timely suggestion: Get the hell out of the way.
Merchant Mixer Minutes
July 26, 2011
An overflow crowd was present at the 8:30 a.m. mixer. Thank you to Don and Kathy for continually allowing the group to meet at Prestons, which is celebrating the 70th anniversary this year! Congratulations. The coffee pot was on and several brought breakfast items, including donuts from Sweet Stuff. Thanks!
Downtown business items discussed were the following:
1. HARVEST HOMECOMING: C. Peters reminded everyone that now is the time to apply for Harvest Homecoming booth space—especially if you want one in the front of your store. Contact the Harvest Homecoming office at 944-8572 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you did not receive a packet of material.
The cost of a 10’ x 10’ booth has gone up to $350.00 since it is after the June 30 deadline. (People to contact: Beth and David White and Patty Fischer
2. I-64 SIGNAGE: Ed Clere is working with INDOT toward options on getting “Historic Downtown New Albany” signage on I-64 westbound. Signage is problematic since the exit to downtown New Albany is right after the I-64 bridge. A bi-state contract will be needed. He is also exploring the possibility of signage on I-64 eastbound but that is equally problematic because of the cut-off to 265 there. Ultimately, signage would, hopefully, include attractions. Restaurants would have to pay but official historic landmarks qualify without payment.
3. NEW RETAIL: Mike Kopp announced that interest in new retail and restaurant venues in the downtown area continues. “Dress and Dwell” on Spring and Louie’s French Restaurant on Market will open in September. The Reitz Building on Main is being sold to become a senior citizen living facility. A coffee shop will be opening in the Fair store on Market. The condo project at the river is moving forward. 209 E. Market will house a mineral/jewelry store and 6 loft apartments are going into 213 Pearl.
4. LANDSCAPING: The mayor reminded the merchants to water the flowers which were funded by Horseshoe at the tune of $6,000. Peters asked for a list of those areas not being watered by the fire dept. or others. Michelle Christiansen said that MainSource Bank had approved replacement of all dead trees along their lot on State and Market and new landscaping done.
5. PARKING: Mayor England announced that the 2 hr. parking signs will be removed and “Parking for Customers and Clients Only” signs put up. He also passed around a map to be distributed to merchants showing the free parking areas. England reiterated that downtown residents must buy a $100/yr. parking sticker.
6. WAYFINDING SIGNAGE:: Places for the 29 wayfinding signs are site-ready. Cost of each sign is $1,100 and they will be put in as soon as the Louisville company is finished producing them. The signs can be modified and kept current.
7. DOGGIE BAGS: These are ready to be placed on the litter containers as soon as the street dept. has time.
8. EMPTY STORE FRONTS: Building and property maintenance codes are out of date. The city will contact the Urban Enterprise zone about paying for vacant window treatment. Dave Thrasher offered to work on a plan for putting public art in those windows; this would reflect dialogue with people on the street.
9. TWO-WAY STREETS: Spring and Market Streets are slated for going from one-way to two-way streets. A federal grant of $2 million is available but needs a 20% match. The question about also making Bank and Pearl two-way was discussed. It was suggested that there be a public hearing scheduled to discuss the pros and cons of this controversial issue. There is a question of money. It was mentioned that one way streets are the best way to move traffic through. However, most merchants don’t want that. They want to see traffic stop and shop. No preliminary study has been made by the City of NewAlbany. However, studies on this issue have been done for different communities and results are available.
10. The City of New Albany web page is being upgraded and redeveloped.
11. The downtown farmers’ market is thriving with 45 vendors. Timperman has been commissioned to design a new market for the bicentennial. Susan Kaempfer was thanked for the job she is doing with the market.
12. The lot at the corner of Spring and Pearl has been purchased for the purpose of creating a bicentennial park
13. First Tuesday in August will be at Marvin’s Auto on 8th street compliments of Dane Smith.
The next Merchant Mixer meeting will be on Tuesday, August 23, at Prestons’ at 8:30 AM?
- Pam Peters