Kutztown Borough Council recently approved contributing more funds toward Kutztown Community Partnership.
Council voted 5-1 to increase the borough’s contribution by $15,000 from the current $5,000 for total contribution of $20,000. Ed Seyler voted no, considering that council had just approved the 2013 budget with no increase.
“We worked hard, we asked our departments to cut back everywhere,” said Seyler. “When is enough enough?”
“It’s never enough,” said Council President Kevin Snyder. “The Community Partnership is part of the Borough, it is a leg of the Borough, it can’t operate without the cooperation of the Borough of Kutztown and it does take what the Borough of Kutztown, the government, cannot do. Kutztown has made terrific improvements visually ... since the Community Partnership came into existence.”
“The question that gets asked of me, is there a business on Main Street that is going to go out of business if the KCP is not there for that? And I don’t have an answer for them,” said Seyler.
“KCP is not funding any specific business,” said Snyder, who owns Adam N’ Eve Boutique on Main Street. “I don’t get any money from KCP.”
“There’s advertising and things they (KCP) do. Is there a business that is not going to survive? Can’t they do it as themselves?” asked Seyler.
“Well, you could say that with any entity, even here. Would our Telecommunications entity survive without us funding it?” said Snyder.
Amanda Keith Verrastro, Main Street Program Director for Kutztown Community Partnership, said KCP is a business on Main Street.
“Our business is supporting the relationship between the community, the borough and the university,” said Verrastro.
KCP promotes public safety through supporting KUBoK neighborhood watch and through adopting programs that Verrastro said are about to be transitioned out that the University had originally been able to maintain but is not in their budget now. An organization like KCP can bridge that gap, she said.
“I hear you say, ‘Can’t the businesses do it on their own?’ If they could, my belief is they would be doing it and it’s not happening and we’re seeing an increase in concerns,” said Verrastro. “We need someone advocating for our business district, not just Main Street. We need someone raising awareness and getting the community members engaged.”
Not just focusing on business, KCP is focusing on the community overall, said Verrastro.
Looking at Main Street, council member Derek Mace said KCP has done some good things.
“We need an entity that has a coherent, unified vision. If we let Main Street not have a vision and just let natural evolution take affect, we can predict what kinds of places we’re going to have on Main Street,” said Mace.
KCP and its volunteers craft that vision, working to get a variety of businesses on Main Street, Mace said, and create “the Kutztown that residents want.”
Borough Council approved to increase it’s annual contribution by $15,000.
“We’re excited to know that the Borough Council supports the Community Partnership and the work that it does,” said Verrastro. “We are a little bit relieved to know that the organization is going to move forward with the strengthening it now has.”
Talking about what the additional funds will go toward, Verrastro said, “It’s going to focus on maintaining our organization for the next five years with the matching gifts from the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) and those funds will go toward maintaining community events like merchant Trick-Or-Treat, the Main Street Christmas, the May Block Party, as well as continuing our efforts with facade and parking initiatives in town, and we’re looking to expand as much as possible.”