Bloomsburg Ordinance Change Seeks to Increase Parking Availability

Bloomsburg Town Council recently approved an amendment to its zoning ordinance with a goal of increasing the amount of public parking available for people who visit and work in the downtown. The changes, approved by Council at its December 10th meeting, require that any new residential development in the downtown commercial district provide private parking. The ordinance allows parking, including multi-level parking structures, to be developed within the district subject to certain criteria. Commercial uses and existing residential uses are not required to provide parking.

The changes had long been considered to reduce the strain on public parking without discouraging the development of housing.  Decades ago, the Town eliminated the need to provide parking for residential development to encourage a higher density of people living in the downtown. With the success of such development, the demand for permit parking increased and has impacted adjacent residential areas. While future demand should not be increased by new residential development, by providing greater flexibility for creating private parking, some of the current demand could also be reduced.

The Chamber and Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. worked with the Town on this ordinance over many months. These changes are an important step forward in Bloomsburg’s management of parking in the downtown. We look forward to discussing further improvements to parking management in 2019.

PA Chamber Signs Letter Urging Federal Passage of “Prisons to Paychecks Bill”

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Last week, the Justice Action Network – a national coalition of chambers of commerce, corrections programs and business associations – sent the legislative leaders of the U.S. House and Senate a letter urging passage of the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act, which will help address a skills gap within the nation’s workforce and provide incarcerated persons a second chance.

The legislation aims to provide job training, treatment and rehabilitation programs to those who are currently cycling in and out of America’s jails and prisons.  It provides tools for business and trade associations to implement their own job training programs behind prison walls to help incarcerated people learn skills that are tailored to jobs employers have difficultly filling and can help them transition successfully from “prisons to paychecks.”

In making the case for the bill’s passage, the coalition letter lists some of the industries that could benefit from the FIRST STEPS Act, including trucking, construction and manufacturing.  One example provided was the National Association of Home Builders, which is experiencing labor shortages in all specialties and trades and has 300,000 unfilled construction jobs nationwide.   Likewise, the manufacturing sector will need to fill 3.5 million jobs over the next decade – 2 million of which are expected to go unfilled due to a lack of skilled candidates.

“That is why chambers of commerce and business leaders in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Kentucky have strongly supported state criminal justice reform efforts that break down barriers to employment for the formerly incarcerated, and why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has gone one step further by endorsing the FIRST STEP Act, which will help ensure that incarcerated people are job-ready before they take their first steps of freedom,” the coalition wrote.

The PA Chamber supports this legislation as a good step toward addressing Pennsylvania’s workforce development challenges.  Last session, we supported “Clean Slate” legislation. This bill, signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, is a first of its kind program to provide a mechanism for individuals with low-level, non-violent criminal offenses to have those records sealed from public view and give them a better chance at securing housing and a good job.

Holiday Open House Shuttle Information

Our members and their guests have helped us set a record for the largest registration in the history of the Holiday Open House. Because parking will fill up quickly at the Pine Barn Inn, we have made arrangements to have the use of two additional overflow lots and a shuttle to bring attendees from these lots to the Pine Barn.

The two overflow lots are: Geisinger’s overflow valet lot at the corner of Bloom St. and Poplar St. (lower left corner of map below) and Geisinger’s Knapper Clinic lot (upper right). The shuttle, courtesy of Susquehanna Valley Limousine, will run in a continuous loop from these lots to the Pine Barn from 4:30-8:30 p.m. There will be a sign (left) in both lots at the pick-up and drop-off points.

Special thanks to the Pine Barn, Geisinger and Susquehanna Valley Limousine for their cooperation in arranging the extra parking and shuttle service. We look forward to seeing all of our members and guests on Thursday night.

Member News – December 12, 2018

Member News

  • The dealerships of the Ken Pollock Auto Group are currently holding their annual coat drive through Dec. 18 at all of its dealerships through northeastern Pennsylvania, including Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln in Berwick, located at 1120 West Front St. (Rt. 11). Those interested in making a donation can drop off new or slightly used coats of all sizes for both men and women, and the donations will be given to the Columbia County Head Start

 

  • HR4ALL will hold a free luncheon and executive briefing on affordable healthcare options and human resources consulting services on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 12-12:45 p.m., at the Farrington Place, located at 416 W. 3rd St., Williamsport. This event will feature a trio of strategic partners, including HR4ALL, a professional human resources expertise consultant, speaking about a group of small and medium-sized businesses getting together to pool resources that will hopefully enable them to access less expensive, self-funded health plans in the future. For more information, call 570-592-0518, or see the event flyer at right, and to RSVP, text HR4ALL to 555888. 

 

  • Service 1st Federal Credit Union kicked off a Winter Open House at its new Montandon office with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 6. The Montandon office is located at 2613 Route 45 in Milton. Service 1st was joined by members, representatives from community organizations and local business leaders to celebrate its 11th location. This new office is a result of a merger with NU Community Credit Union which was effective earlier this year. The Montandon office features an ATM, night depository, and state-of-the-art “Pod” station (service station) for credit union members to conduct transactions. The “Pod” stations are a variation of the traditional teller line, but offer a more personal experience for performing transactions.

Welcome Dutch Hill Painting

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Dutch Hill Paintingto help us fulfill our mission. 

Dutch Hill Painting is a new business located in Bloomsburg that was founded earlier this year by Brandon Ortman. It serves Bloomsburg, Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Danville and surrounding areas and provides residential and commercial painting services and makes customer services its top priority, working with customers from estimating through project completion to stay on time and within budget. It provides both interior and exterior residential painting services as well as commercial. Dutch Hill painting can be reached at 570-951-6200 or by email, or visit its website for more information.