Central Business District Advisory Committee
September 14, 2017 Minutes
Attendees: Philip Davis, Gary Kolesaire, Amy Borque, Bill Gilsenan, Captain Forest Lyons for Chief Luthke, Michael Velicu, Kathryn Schmidt
Absent: Councilman Ramon Hache, Jane Shinozuka, Gail McCarthy, Lorraine Reynolds, Gail McCarthy
At the requests of Councilman Hache, Kathryn Schmidt ran the meeting in his absence.
Minutes of the August CBDAC meeting were approved.
- Town Pictures
- Amy reported that Geri Abdoo is taking more pictures of the town, especially around recent events, that show the vibrancy of the Village. Amy will send the link to the committee to view the pictures being assembled.
- At $20/picture, we need to decide our budget and selection.
- Amy suggested that we might want to sponsor a photo contest to have residents submit their best photos that show Ridgewood at its vibrant best.
- If any committee members have great pictures of the Village please send them to Amy.
- Michael has some ideas about the web-site design and would like to meet with John to discuss.
- Garry will assume responsibility for the “Retail” categories for the web-site.
Walktoberfest: Amy presented Gail’s update
- Jeanne Johnson would like our help in getting the word out about Walktoberfest. Flyers and a web-site link (ridgewoodwalks.com) will be forthcoming and it is requested that we share them with out networks.
- September 26 is the kick-of at the library and Jeanne is hoping all CBDAC members can attend.
- Walking Tours will occur from September 26 – 30. Jeanne would like volunteers to lead the tours as well as ideas. Amy and Gail are leading “Ladies who Lunch.” Another suggestion: “How Sweet It Is” to focus on desert spots in town. Looking for all types of creative ideas.
- The Village council approved contracting LAZ Parking for a 3-month pilot program beginning in the fall at two locations: next to Van Neste and in the east train station parking lot on East Ridgewood and Broad Street.
Hudson Street Parking
- The Council has moved forward with seeking to declare the Hudson Street parking lot a re-development zone and may be able to do it through a resolution since the only property in scope is Village-owned. This would save time, at least 2 months by not having to go through the Planning Board, and money since the Council can engage contractors directly without having to go out to bid and pay for additional designs.
- It was noted that this item has been on the CBDAC agenda and minutes for months and concerns were raised about the need to move the process forward. Captain Lyons explained the lengthy process that Village purchasing decisions need to go through including announcing the resolution 30 days before a working session discussion, conducting the working session, and then voting at the next meeting after the working session. Depending on the VC calendar that could take up to two months.
- Garry mentioned that William Paterson University put their parking garage up in 3 months in order to be ready for the school season. In light of this, it would be helpful to find out how the village can shorten its construction time down from the anticipated 6-8 months.
- A press release will be sent to newspapers this week regarding Ridgewood’s implementation of the Estate Card, and a letter from the Mayor about the Estate Card will be sent in the tax bills, which will be mailed out on September 15th.
- Philip explained the business’s responsibility, which includes taking a discount on their sales to fund the tax savings, as well as paying an additional 1.8% to the card vendor for operations. Retailers can receive weekly updates on the usage of the card in their establishment and can opt in or out at any time.
- A few members expressed concern that the card is another MasterCard, charge card, rather than a rewards card like Stop and Shop. They questioned whether residents would participate since it diverts sales from other rewards programs (i.e. Amex) that they might be accruing.
- It was suggested that the Village identify other obvious selling points to promote the card such as Newcomers.
- The Village will be ordering the CBD Banners (design #3 which we voted on) by next week. They will also be ordering flag banners but first the CBDAC needs to decide on one of two designs distributed.
- The CBDAC questioned why American flag banners were being purchased since the expectation is that once the Ridgewood banners go in they become a staple of the CBD aesthetic.
- The CBDAC also agreed that the angled flags used for July 4th were attractive and should be maintained (if the intent was to substitute the flag banners.
- The CBDAC recommends that we not swap out the banners for the flags.
- Van Nested Lighting
- Bill Gilsenan shared some of the special features of the new lighting system including the ability for the Police Department to control the lighting remotely. He also reported that the above ground work has been completed but now all the below ground infrastructure mush be replaced. He is in the process of writing the RFP.
- The speakers being installed in the park lend themselves to the spoken word, which can help generate more events.
- It is hoped that the lighting can be in place for the holiday season, but the bidding process is a long one so this may not be feasible.
- Village Events
- It was recommended that we not suggest events that close the street, but focus on the park instead.
- Bill recommended the creation of a sub-committee to brainstorm park events, which draw foot traffic to the CBD.
- It was recommended that we focus on expanding current holiday season “events” beyond the Chamber Tree Lighting, Guild Winterfest, and Santa in the Park and that events run from Thanksgiving through Christmas/New Year’s.
- The CBDAC would like to understand the Chamber’s and Guild’s plans for the holidays and then the CBDAC can fill in with ideas to supplement those if necessary.
- Concerns were raised that we not get into the business of planning and executing events if there are already entities like the Chamber and the Guild that already do this and have the expertise. Nevertheless the CBDAC can focus on publicity and advertising to encourage downtown shopping, dining, attendance at events, etc. during the holiday season.
- Concerns were raised that Chamber and Guild events do not seem to be coordinated among themselves. For example, the Chamber Car Show and Guild Music Festival were held on the Friday and Sunday of the same weekend in September rather than spreading those events over two weekends, which might encourage more participation. The CBDAC can play a role in helping coordinate this.
- Captain Lyons pointed out that there are local and Dept. of Homeland Security regulations regarding security at village events. For example, there must be one officer/50 guests at an event where alcohol is served; events expected to attract over 1000 visitors must have barricades to prevent vehicular attacks. These costs, as well as costs for preparing in the days before and after an event, are borne by the event leaders or the taxpayers. Therefore it is import to have a representative from the Police department on the Events Sub-committee.
- Promoting Ridgewood as a Destination
- Kathryn Schmidt presented a few web-sites that the CBDAC could better utilize including tripadvisor.com, the world’s largest travel site; visitnj.org, the official tourism web-site of New Jersey, and escapemaker.com which provides NYC area residents with opportunities to explore destinations within a day’s drive or train ride from NYC. Tripadvisor.com and visitnj.org are free sites. Escapemaker fees begin at $250 and can be customized to our needs and interests.
- Michael and Philip recommended that the upcoming CBDAC web-site be linked to these sites as well as other like Yelp.
- CBDAC members are asked to review the sites and decide which might work for us.
- New CBDAC Member
- Mike Pickholz has been appointed to the CBDAC.
- Questions for Councilman Hache
- Was the redevelopment zone approved last night at the September 13 VC meeting?
- Is there a pilot timeframe for the Estate Card to gauge usage and results?
- Why are we purchasing American flag banners in addition to the Ridgewood banners?
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