There's a Council Meeting tonight at 7:30 pm. The full agenda is below. I mentioned the other day that the Norristown Business Administration would do a presentation about their planned events for 2015. I'm going to be gracious and say there was a miscommunication on Council's part, so the presentation will hopefully happen at a later date.
However, I have two concerns about Item "b" under Administration. "Transient merchants" usually means food trucks, though it COULD apply to vendors without trucks. From what I've heard, the County intends to have a "Food Day Friday" (the name needs work, don't you think?) once a month during the summer from noon to 2 pm on Swede Street outside the Courthouse. This, I was told, is supposed to encourage county workers to get out of the building and onto the downtown streets of Norristown. Sounds good on the surface. Picture our restaurants setting up booths on Swede, or in front of their shops to entice new business. However, when I've asked about it, I was told the "County" wants to bring in food trucks. And when I asked about Norristown-based food trucks (I only know of one at the moment), I was told the County has other food trucks in mind. Which says to me outside vendors getting all the business while our downtown restaurants and Norristown food trucks get squeezed out by the competition.
How is that supposed to be good for Norristown's economy? Getting courthouse workers out onto our streets doesn't help us unless they're leaving their money at our small businesses. So there needs to be language in the ordinance that at least levels the playing field. Or frankly, Council ought to tilt the playing field to benefit our own economy. They're there to serve Norristown, not the County.
The other concern is the Arts Hill side of the request. Right now we're 3 weeks and 4 days away from the festival and there hasn't been a peep out of the organizers. Nothing on their website. No publicity. I heard the rumor yesterday that they were moving the festival to "a park." From the language below, that park would seem to be Elmwood Park. What happened to the "Arts Hill" brand? Arts Hill is SUPPOSED to be Dekalb St. It was well-attended there last year, so why move it? Our Main Street businesses NEED the festival downtown.
My concern is mainly that Elmwood is in a residential neighborhood. I know, I live there. My neighbors and I put up with a lot of crap from some summer events at the park--excessively loud noise, trash all over our lawns, and all our parking taken. Another rumor: I heard the organizers want to make it an adult event, with alcohol being served. Hello, there's a playground right next to the band shell. On a nice Saturday, there WILL be kids present. But, all I have to go on are rumors, because, as I said, there's been NOTHING from the committee. If food trucks are allowed along Harding, that's more parking problems for the rest of the neighborhood, not to mention a slap in the face to all the Norristown businesses who don't need the competition.
If the Arts Hill Festival is going to be moved to Elmwood Park, the neighbors need to have a say in the matter.
Here's the rest of the agenda.
NORRISTOWN MUNICIPALITY Council Meeting
April 7, 2015 7:30 pm Tuesday
I. Call to Order, Linda Christian, Council President
II. Moment of Silence/Pledge of Allegiance
III. Roll Call
IV. Motion to approve Minutes of the Council Workshop meeting held on March 17, 2015
V. Executive Session Announcement
a. Update on the Markley Street/Main Street Proposed Intersection Improvements by Thomas Storrs, P.E.
VIII. Public Comment
X. Items for Action
a. Appoint a member to the Police Pension Board and the Fire Pension Board. Request Municipal Council to approve or disapprove Resolution 15--115 appointing Sonya Sanders as a member of the Police Pension Board and the Fire Pension Board
a. Removal of Domestic Partner Health Benefits Policy. Request Municipal Council to approve or disapprove removing the Domestic Partner Health Benefits effectively immediately.
b. Request made from Montgomery County and the Arts Hill Festival to waive the location restriction in Ordinance #09--08 of 2009, which prohibits transient merchant sales along Swede Street from Lafayette Street to Marshall Street and along Harding Boulevard adjacent to Elmwood Park. Request Municipal Council to approve or disapprove waiving the location restrictions of Ordinance 09--08 of 2009 to allow the Food Day Friday events and the 2015 Arts Hill Festival to occur at the requested locations.
a. To update PEMA--DAP--2 form authorizing the current Finance Director as the Designee of Agent. Request Municipal Council to approve or disapprove Resolution 15--117 authorizing the current Finance Director for the Designation of Agent Resolution on form PEMA--DAP--2
a. Proposed Ordinance for the program year 2015 Community Development Block Grant Action Plan budget and 2015--2019 CDBG Consolidated Action Plan. Request Municipal Council to approve or disapprove the adoption of Ordinance 15--04.
a. Agreement between Municipality of Norristown and Plymouth Township regarding the operation and maintenance of the Ross Street Bridge. Request Municipal Council approve or disapprove entering into the Intermunicipal Cooperation Agreement between the Municipality of Norristown and Plymouth Township regarding the Ross Street Bridge.
a. A resident has requested a handicapped parking space in front of her home and provided us with the proper documentation. Request Municipal Council approve or disapprove Resolution 15--116 providing a handicapped parking space in front of 316 East Moore St. and to approve the proper removal of two (2) handicapped spaces that are no longer needed at 108 Hamilton St. and 919 West Airy Street.
a. In Accordance with the HARB rules and regulations all Certificates of Appropriateness Are required to be certified by Municipal Council. Request Municipal Council To approve or disapprove HARB Certificate Of Appropriateness For 1046 Green Street