UConn College Town Presentation
Located literally in the middle of nowhere, dining, shopping and entertainment options were non-existent at the University of Connecticut campus in Mansfield, CT. But a revitalization and enhancement project developed a Mansfield downtown: A vibrant and economically successful mixed-use development known as Storrs Center.
At the April 26th Borough Business Development Committee (BDC) meeting, Cynthia van Zelm, Executive Director, and Kathleen Paterson, Sr. Communications Manager, Mansfield Downtown Partnership; and Lou Marquet with Leyland Alliance presented on creating the University of Connecticut’s College Town from scratch.
Learn about the public-private partnership that made it happen in our post How UConn Built Their College Town.
Pottstown Conference Models Business and Investor Recruitment
Investigating more ways the BDC and CEDC can support Collegeville Borough’s revitalization, two of our members attended the 2021 Pottstown Investors Conference held virtually this year. The annual conference, which began in 2017, is geared for those interested in supporting Pottstown’s revitalization, including: current business people, entrepreneurs considering establishing a business in the Borough, and nonprofit leaders.
As in past conferences those points were presented by:
- Twila Fisher and Cathy Skitko, Director of Community & Economic Development, and Senior Director of Institutional Public Relations respectively of Hobart’s Run and The Hill School, who presented to the BDC in November of 2019;
- Peggy Lee-Clark, Executive Director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc (PAID); and
- Pottstown Borough Manager Justin Keller.
The event included two guest speakers who spoke on social equity and its impact on businesses everywhere — the theme of this year’s conference, — and two borough business owners who spoke of their experience weathering 2020’s COVID-19 closures.
The full story on the conference can be found in the Pottstown Mercury post Virtual Pottstown Investors Conference Highlights Business Resilience.
Past conferences have included a bus tour of the borough with emphasis on available businesses and zones of opportunity.
As it relates to our efforts to draw investors and business to Collegeville Borough, the BDC and CEDC together could present a similar conference with presentations by:
- BDC representatives and the Collegeville Borough Manager on our efforts to incentivize and assist small developers;
- CEDC representatives on our business promotion support and community events;
- Ursinus College and Collegeville Borough representatives presenting our Master Plan for our Main Street (currently in process);
- Montgomery County Planners on Collegeville borough’s comprehensive plan; and
- Borough business owners and managers on their experience here.
Further Input on the Perkiomen Bridge Hotel
Nineteen respondents (48%) felt it was too late for the hotel, and that the only solution was to demolish it. Twelve respondents (30%) felt the hotel should somehow be saved. Nine respondents (22%) didn’t take a strong stand either way.
Most respondents felt the restoration of the hotel is not the crucial issue; rather, it is the feasible operation of the hotel after it is restored. Comments included:
- The current location is not a good option. It is too costly and expensive to recover from each flood.
- (Redevelopment) will cost much more than any set of investors would be willing to risk.
- It would be impossible to make enough money to justify the property as a restaurant (or similar venue) because of the lack of sufficient parking.
The balance of respondents called for restoration or reuse. Comments included:
- Save the oldest, most historic part of the building and raise it or move it.
- Remove the Hotel and focus instead on water recreation.
What’s Happening with the Former Rees Property
All the above ground demolition has been finished on the former Rees Engineering property on W. Third Avenue between Walnut and Chestnut Streets (Map it). The property is located in the borough’s new Main Street Commercial – Residential District (MSC-RD). Developer W.B. Homes expects to start constructing a model home by July 15.. They will start the home at the corner of Third Avenue and Walnut St.
Forty townhomes are planned for the development. See the Hudson Square Visual Aid or our post Main Street – Residential Zoning on Collegeville Agenda for details of the project. (Note: Hudson Square was renamed Freeland Square.)
The Ursinus College campus, Bookstore, Cafe 2020 and Berman Museum reopened to the community in late May.
The campus is open for walking and while there, residents are encouraged to visit the Ursinus College Bookstore in the Schellhase Commons (map it). More than a student bookstore, it also has a collection of adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction books, or they are happy to obtain one for you. Orders generally only take a day or two to fulfill. Call the bookstore at 610-409-3584 or e-mail Manager Su Phillips at [email protected].
“We also have curated a selection of books for PV School District families participating in the Opening Doors to New Worlds summer reading program,” says Su. “We are offering a 10% discount for summer reading books. Just ask for your discount at the register.”
The Bookstore is open Monday through Fridays 11 am to 7 pm and Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.
While on campus you can also enjoy breakfast, lunch, and Starbucks coffee at Cafe2020, also in the Commons.
And be sure to visit the Berman Museum of Art. The museum reopened to residents June 10th with a new textile exhibit, “Mapping Climate Change: The Knitting Map and Tempestry Project.”
Around the Borough
Events Returning to the Borough
- Movies on the Lawn, 2 dates
- Collegeville Borough Concerts in the Park, 2 dates
- Collegeville Car Show, August 15
- Colossal Yard Sale, September 4
New businesses in Collegeville
Recently Opened in the Collegeville Shopping Center
- Fred Astaire Dance Studio. See our Fred Astaire Dance Studio business spotlight.
- The Dental Spot
- CBD American Shaman
- Lash Lounge
- Collegeville Pharmacy
- YogaSix (August)
Other Borough Business News
- Pho Mai Vietnamese Restaurant in the Collegeville Shopping Center has closed.
- Cycle Bar will take over the Pho Mai space.
- DaVincis Pub has been sold and is closed. There are several rumors about what will happen with the space but there is no official word at this time.
CEDC Community Piano Project
The CEDC has installed a fifth “Play Me” community piano in Collegeville Borough at Troubles End Brewing. See the post and photos of this exciting project on the CEDC website.
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