SOUDERTON — The plans for the Business Improvement District and Souderton-Telford Main Streets to merge and the BID expand to cover all of Souderton Borough are still the same as in February, when the BID previously outlined the plans.
That was the update BID Chairwoman Margaret Zglinicki told Souderton Borough Council at its June 15 work session meeting.
The expansion would allow the BID to focus on all of Souderton instead of just the Main Street and Broad Street areas that currently make up the bulk of the BID, she said.
“We need to be able to concentrate on Souderton. We need to be able to do for it more and better. We will be event driven. We will be economic development driven, public art, beautification, all those things that we're currently doing now, but better,” Zglinicki said.
The BID can also help the businesses network, she said.
“There's a lot more benefit that they could be getting from working with each other, for each other,” she said, “and they just need some help facilitating that.”
The additional money that would come in from having more businesses in the area covered by the BID and being assessed a fee for that would all go towards economic development, she said.
Before any of that can happen, though, the BID, which is in the final year of its initial five-year term, has to be approved to continue.
The timeline for the renewal process, which includes public meetings and a chance for the owners of business properties in the BID coverage area to vote on whether the BID should be approved, is set by the state, Zglinicki said.
“We're fine. We can make it in 2020, but it is tight,” Zglinicki told the council.
What makes it tighter is that if the BID is re-approved, time also has to be calculated in for the BID and Main Streets merger, council member Ed Huber said.
“We're just looking for the opportunity for another five years. That's the period of time we're asking to reauthorize for so that we can be here to help the business owners, to help the community of Souderton, to help the borough and just to do for those folks what they can't necessarily do for themselves,” Zglinicki said.
Some of the highlights of what has already been done include Third Fridays, the digital sign on Main Street that helps promote BID businesses, the $5 giveback program to help encourage shopping local during the coronavirus pandemic and the business spotlights on the BID's website, she said.
The Souderton council has discussed the BID plan previously and likely will again at its June 29 work session, council President Brian Goshow said. The board could vote at its July 6 meeting on whether to approve the BID moving forward to seek reauthorization, he said.
One of his issues when the plan was initially raised was what would happen if the BID is not reauthorized, he said. Following the economic effects of the pandemic, more of the businesses might not be in favor of having to pay the BID assessment fee, he said.
“I think we have to ask the question, what if this doesn't go through?” Goshow said.
Zglinicki said she feels confident it will be approved.
“We've had a lot of positive feedback on the things that we're doing,” she said.
If the BID isn't approved for another term, would it be dissolved, Goshow asked.
Zglinicki said it would.
“We would have no choice,” she said.
That's the case every time the BID comes up for reapproval, Harry Boardman, another of the BID representatives, said.
“This is an all-in maneuver for the BID,” he said.
“It has to happen or it doesn't. If the BID goes away, our programs basically go away,” he said. “Third Friday and a lot of the other things we're doing, there won't be money for it.”
If the BID isn't reapproved, Main Streets would remain, but would not be able to do all the things that the BID and Main Streets have been doing, Zglinicki said.