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Thursday, February 20, 2014

News On The 501c3

This is very exciting. We are in the process of writing the by-laws for a 501c3. This is huge. We are kicking around the idea of calling the 501c3 part of the DMBA, the Downtown Meadville Business Alliance Foundation. This aspect of the DMBA will go after grants for different interests in the downtown. Will keep you updated as the 501c3 sub-committee comes together and works on all the bugs.

February 2014 Minuts

Great Meeting!
• is now going live. Lou Baxter, from JET TV has sent a letter to his tech staff to work on linking the calendar page to their web site. and we have linked weather to ours. This is very exciting. We will be promoting to every outlet we can. It is our hope that this will also generate new members and expand our customer base.
• Isaac Pineo talked about what we need to do to get a 501c3 status. There are a lot of steps to go through. Some more complicated than others. Our main concern was by-laws. We are going to tackle this first. A sub-committee will look at different by-laws from other organizations and we will pick and choose what we like and don’t like about them.
• Second Saturday. This is very exciting. There were a lot of great ideas going around the room.
   -  Art being created each week by the students that go to Second Saturday and have it displayed in each store during the last Second Saturday. A Hay Ride that would take people around to each of the stores to show off the art.
   –  Closing off Chestnut between Market and Park to expand the festivities into the downtown.
   -  An Art Walk that would go along with each theme of Second Saturday.
   -  Creating Second Saturday Banners to be placed throughout the downtown.
   -  Creating Painted Rain Barrels to be placed throughout the downtown.
• We talked about the businesses that are moving in, out and around, in the downtown. The desire to have coffee and ice cream up by the Diamond, and what we can do to help fill the empty store fronts, like the Eldred Building.
• 15 Minute Free parking meters. The city has several parking meters that, if you give them a crank, you get 15 minutes of free parking. It cost $105.00 to switch out the guts on an existing meter to put in these special meters. We talked about the DMBA finding sponsors to fund the change to these meters, with a sticker placed along the top that would read. 15 Minutes Free Parking / Sponsored By: Name Of Business. The business would pay for 1 or more meters plus the cost of the sticker. Isaac Pineo will be presenting this to council along with several other parking issues. That date has yet to be determined.
• Park and Ride. Tim, from CATA, suggested two possibilities.  (1) A bus could be chartered at $40.00/hr.  If we chose to operated the bus one day/week for 6 hours that would be $12,480/year.  That, of course, would only work if a grant were provided.  The second option would be establishing it as a regular route.  A fare would have to be charged although seniors and handicapped persons would ride free.  The fare, for example, might be 50 cents each way.  The fares might also be handled by some kind of grant.  In any event, it is nothing we could do in the short term.  Tim is checking with PennDot.
Great Meeting Everyone!

After meeting developments:
• We are looking into a Food Drive for the end of May. ‘Comic Walk’. We are hoping to partner with the Chamber of Commerce for the Food Drives. This would expand our reach and give us an opportunity to work on a project together. We are also looking into the possibility of having a central location for all the organizations that need food, to be able to go. Our job would be to keep those shelves full.
• We are moving forward, with the Second Saturday leaders, to have a Second Saturday Art Walk throughout the downtown. We will be meeting with Steven Prince, an art professor from Allegheny, to enlist his help and also to involve Allegheny College.

January 2014 Minutes

• Parking - Customer Only Zone
• 'Experience Meadville' web site and the use of categories
• Membership drive
• Second Saturday
• DMBA as a 501C3
• Park & Ride utilizing a CATA Loop
• Setting up a Subcommittee on Business Development

We began the meeting by reviewing past issues we went over parking, the progress being made on the website and new efforts to increase our membership. Then we moved on to Second Saturday. Isaac Pineo was at the meeting, and his wife Becky, ran second Saturday last year.
I have been talking with one of the coordinators for Second Saturday, this year. Her name is Tracy. It is our hope and our goal to expand second Saturday to include the businesses in downtown Meadville. Our first initial concept was to create an art walk.
For stores like the Water Store that did not have art as a part of their business we could bring in local artists to display their art in those stores. We would have maps that would go along with each walk.
If you have anymore suggestions as to what we can do on Second Saturday, please let us know.
Joyce Farrell from Farrell’s Hook, Line and Stitches suggested we create a 50/50 drawing to help promote Second Saturday and the Meadville Art Walk.
There was a discussion about the 2 Million Dollar grant the the Redevelopment Authority of Conneaut Lake approved for it's downtown and that conversation lead to the suggestion that the DMBA apply for a 501C3. This is Non-Profit status so we can apply for grants to help improve our downtown.
Tom Collard suggested there be a Park & Ride set up in Meadville Meadville that utilized a CATA Loop from the mall across from the Baldwin Reynolds House.

Sandy Cheropovich brought up a concern that there wasn't enough support and local political response for businesses trying to locate to the downtown Meadville. She sighted several businesses that she knew of that wanted to move into the downtown and was having a hard time getting the information they needed from the powers that be. This topic has come up before under a different set of concerns. At that time it was suggested that Tom Collard work with the Chamber of Commerce in regards to the empty store fronts. This is a topic that can be expanded to a Subcommittee on Business Development. Where we are the first stop for businesses that want to move into Meadville’s downtown and 'we' are connecting those potential businesses with the people or organizations they need to meet with.
I had sent out the request for  information about your individual businesses and how the categories work. We will be going door to door to gather this information. The web site 'cannot' move forward without that information from each of you.
When the weather gets a little warmer, we will be working on getting more members. Right now our membership is mostly retail. It is the goal of the DMBA that we represent a cross section of the Meadville business community.

After meeting developments. Isaac Pineo wants to spearhead the DMBA's attempts to become a 501c3. This is nonprofit status that will allow us to apply for grants to improve our downtown. is up and in the review stages. If your business is not on you need to contact Heather at Off Color Gallery.
The Second Saturday leaders have been contacted and are very  excited to work with the DMBA to help expand this event to include the entire downtown. Tracy will be at our meeting, this Tuesday evening.