Central Business District Advisory Committee
August 20, 2020
In attendance: Councilwoman Pamela Perron, Chief Jacqueline Luthcke, Jordan Kaufman, Bill Gilsenan, Gary Kolesaire, Kathryn Schmidt, Philip Davis, Michael Velicu, Michael Pickholz, Patrick DeMeulder (intern to Councilwoman Perron)
Public comment: Jeannie Johnson provided an update on how Welcome Back Ridgewood is engaging the West Side since that part of the Village does not benefit from the Pedestrian Mall. There are members of West Side businesses on the Welcome Back Ridgewood Committee and Jeanne suggested that we include West Side representatives on the CBDAC. WBR will focus on promoting the West Side next month. There are also thoughts on creating a Ridgewood Walk of Fame in the area.
Curbside Grab and Go: The pilot program is up and running and offers an opportunity to learn about what works for the CBD, especially as businesses will need to pivot as statewide ordinances regarding social distancing continue to evolve. Jordan Kaufman engaged Ridgewood Rotary AM to underwrite five spaces during the pilot and to assume the role of managing the administrative process for the merchants.
Councilwoman Perron and Joan Groom (Executive Director of the Chamber) have been meeting with businesses to inform them of the process and engage their support. Some businesses are interested, but the cost of spaces might be prohibitive. Others indicated that their customers require more time in their establishments therefore they do not need the curbside option. The communication process will continue.
Cardboard Recycling in the CBD: All agreed that the discussion with Sean Hamlin and Heather Mailander last week provided important and new information that many businesses and residents are not aware of and which shed light on the village’s difficult decision to no longer offer cardboard pick-up for CBD businesses. The CBDAC subcommittee (Jordan Kaufman, Bill Gilsenan, Pamela Perron) will discuss ideas on how to engage merchants to solve this problem, perhaps through a private consortium that can hire a private contractor to transport cardboard to the recycling center. There may also be an opportunity to partner with environmentally focused village committees to work on a solution. It was acknowledged again, however, that the build-up of cardboard , both inside stores/storage areas, and outside, continues to be a problem.
Website: The pros and cons of continuing the website project were discussed. While there is general agreement that a website that could be the virtual “Visitor’s Bureau” for the CBD would be valuable, it may not be feasible for the CBDAC may not provide the right platform to lead this project the complexities of running a website through the municipal government and given costs constraints in the village. It may be better placed and managed through a Business Improvement District structure or other private entity.
Councilwoman Perron is attempting to retrieve the work that has been done to date as well as identify what costs, if any, were committed.
A sub-committee including Michael Velicu, Jeanne Johnson, Gary Kolesaire, Kathryn Schmidt, and Patrick De Meulder will review and come back to the CBDAC with recommendations.
Marketing to Prospective CBD Tenants: Kathryn Schmidt presented ideas on how we might capitalize on the influx of visitors to the CBD who will be viewing the new downtown residential complexes. All members are asked to provide feedback and contribute ideas to the proposal. Kathryn will work with Bill Gilsenan as well as members of the Chamber, the Guild, and Newcomer’s to determine and price a prototype.
Budget: Budget requests need to be submitted to the Village by mid-September. After discussion, the preliminary list of items for consideration include funding curbside spaces, CBD marketing materials, support for development of a BID. While it is recognized that this is a difficult time for funding, the budget would represent an investment back into the CBD as a percent of taxes the CBD contributed to the Village. Michael Pickholz, Philip Davis, and Councilwoman Perron are the point people on this.
- Continue to support curbside implementation
- Convene cardboard recycling team
- Convene website team
- Provide feedback on marketing plan
- Submit budget items
August 21, 2020
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