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Allentown council revises duties of Economic Development Commission

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Allentown council revises duties of Economic Development Commission

ALLENTOWN – With an eye on Allentown’s business community, the Borough Council has adopted an ordinance that revises the powers and duties of the town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC).

Council members adopted the ordinance on Nov. 13.

Prior to the adoption of the amended ordinance, the EDC had the following powers and duties:

• To inquire into, survey and publicize the extent, advantages and utility of vacant land and
property in Allentown;

• To classify vacant land according to its adaptability for the settlement of various types of business, professional and industrial enterprises;

• To study and analyze various businesses, industries and professions with a view to
ascertaining the opportunities for expansion of such businesses, industries and professions
in Allentown;

• To recommend to the council advertising the economic advantages and opportunities and
availability of real estate in Allentown, and encourage and accomplish business,
industrial and professional settlement in the borough.

That entire section has been stricken from the ordinance and replaced with a section which states that the EDC “assists the governing body in the development and maintenance of a positive business environment. The group … consults with the governing body, and collaborates with the Allentown business community. The EDC’s powers and duties are to:

• “Create and foster a business-friendly atmosphere that attracts and retains appropriate
retail, professional and service firms;

• “Develop and promote an image of Allentown as a good place for shopping, dining, recreation and doing business, while maintaining our historic image; all of which makes Allentown a desirable place to live, work, play and raise a family;

• “Facilitate communication, partnership and collaboration between businesses in specific
retail areas and encourage and support strategies to increase patronage to these areas;

• “Maintain close working relationships with the Allentown Business Community
Association, the Monmouth County Office of Economic Development and various state
agencies.”

Council President Thomas Fritts and council members Rob Schmitt, John A. Elder III, Johnna Stinemire and Robert Strovinsky voted to adopt the ordinance. Councilwoman Angela Anthony was absent.

Schmitt said that in taking action to update the responsibilities of the EDC, the council’s goal “is not just pursuing business, but making sure that businesses in the borough operate with our vision. In large towns, it is more about filling vacant space. Allentown is different. We seek a more well balanced approach. It is less about real estate and more in keeping with the natural environment and other goals.”