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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Borough Newsletter – Spring 2003

Jump to: Police Department News, Lansdowne Looking for a Poet Laureate, News From the Tree Advisory Board, New Feature “Ask the Code Enforcement Officer”, Lansdowne Library News , Bulk Pick Up and Hazardous Waste, THE MARKET FOR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN LANSDOWNE, Upcoming Lansdowne Cultural Events

Police Department News

Chief Daniel Kortan

With the arrival of spring we will see a lot of familiar activities returning to Lansdowne. There will be baseball, fishing, bicycling and numerous other sports and activities, which have remained mostly dormant during the winter months. Unfortunately, the arrival of warmer weather usually brings with it a rise in criminal activity. Burglars, thieves and vandals all prefer the warmer months to practice their activities. Another rite of spring will be the reactivation of the Lansdowne Police Bike Patrol. Look for them in your neighborhood.

Residents are reminded to keep their homes and vehicles locked at all times. Over the winter months we saw numerous thefts from vehicles. In almost every case, the cars were left unlocked and items of interest to the thief were left in plain sight. This is a combination that is almost too good to pass up. Lansdowne is a safe community but we should make every effort to deter criminal activity by taking basic precautions to prevent crime.

On February 21, 2003 the state enacted a revised seatbelt law.

WHAT IS THE NEW LAW?

Children under 4 years of age are required to use a child restraint device. Nonuse is a primary offense. Children 4 to under 8 years of age are required to use a booster seat. This is a secondary offense. The penalty is a sliding fine up to $100.00. The money will go into a fund to purchase child safety seats for loaner programs that distribute child safety seats across Pennsylvania. Charges may be dismissed by the District Justice if proof of purchase or loan of a child passenger safety seat/booster seat is introduced into evidence.

Drivers and passengers 8 to 18 years of age are required to be restrained anywhere in the vehicle. This is a secondary violation. The fine is $10.00.

For more information on the seatbelt law, burglary prevention strategies, overnight parking information and much more, visit the Lansdowne Police Official Web Page at www.lansdownepolice.com

Remember, if you see or hear anything of a suspicious nature, report it promptly by dialing 911. Together we can make a difference in our community.

Lansdowne Heroes. Firefighters Kevin Haggerty (left) and Pete Bochanski (right) receive Commendations from Chief Tom Young for the part they played in saving Pat Creed (center) during a fire February 8th 2003. Well Done.

Lansdowne Looking for a Poet Laureate

Lansdowne has always been a bit arty. We have a symphony orchestra, a folk club, and a theater troupe and now we are looking for a Poet Laureate.

If you are interested in applying for the position here is what you need to know. Each year you will be asked to write a poem for two occasions in the borough, the first meeting of the year and Memorial Day. You should be willing to meet with school children and community groups. The Poet Laureate may feel free to coordinate his or her own projects, with the support of Borough Council, to promote the literary arts in Lansdowne. The applicant must be a Lansdowne resident, have published works in any of the recognized literary forms, and be willing to hold the position for at least two years.

To be considered for the position of Poet Laureate, submit a piece of literary work including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, etc. Mail your submissions to Lansdowne Borough Hall 12 E. Baltimore Ave. The deadline is May 30th 2003. You may also e-mail them to MayorJayne@aol.com. A committee will be formed to review all submissions. For further information contact the Mayor via e-mail or 610-623-7300.

News From the Tree Advisory Board

The Right Tree for the Right Place

Lansdowne was designated a "Tree City" eight years ago . Its tree lined streets are a pleasure for residents and visitors alike. Unfortunately, with age, many of the older trees in town have become a hazard and have been removed. What will happen to the image of Lansdowne and its wonderful tree lined streets? If you’ve had to remove a hazardous tree, please consider replacing it with an appropriate choice. Here are a few suggestions. Some tall trees, over 40 feet, are maple, oak, spruce and pine. Medium trees of 40 feet or less include river & grey birch, red Cedar, and American holly. Some examples of small trees of 25 feet or less are crab apple, dogwood, and red bud. These are all appropriate for our climate in Lansdowne. Remember, planting near or under electrical wires is a concern. Be sure to buy from a reputable nursery that will give at least a one year guarantee. The benefits of trees are numerous: trees clean the air and water, increase property value, attract shoppers and reduce energy bills. These are all good reasons to plant a tree.

Join our Arbor Day Celebration April 25th 1PM in Sycamore Park

Please remember to pick up litter when you see it. A tidy town is a happy town.

New Feature "Ask the Code Enforcement Officer"

Dear Code Enforcement Officer,
When I bought my house 30 years ago I bought it as is. Now that I’m selling you’re asking me to fix my curb and sidewalk, put in GFI outlets and more!!! What’s with that?

Charlotte Sue

Dear Charlotte Sue,
I’m glad you asked. If it was good enough for you, why isn’t it good enough for the next owner? I’ll tell you the truth. It’s not good enough because the state law now says everyone must be in compliance with International Code Council Codes. Every home sale requires a "Use and Occupancy Certificate", which means the property was checked for compliance. No U&O, no sale. There are such things as a temporary U&Os, but they have specific requirements that must be met.

These blasted codes are away to ensure that properties don’t decline, which affects all our property values. Now I didn’t say it’ll keep it fancy and freshly decorated. Codes cover fire, structural, mechanical, plumbing, energy conservation aspects, and on and on.

If you rent, the U&O is designed to let you rent a safe abode. Apartments can be kept from becoming undesirable by inspections between renters.

When you purchase a different home the seller will be held to the same iron as you. You shouldn’t get a home with bad sidewalks or an unsafe deck.

Dear CEO,
Why does your job exist?

Wilbur C.

Dear Wilbur,
I’m glad you asked. A code enforcement officer enforces codes. Codes are rules and standards for the safety of the public set by the International Code Council (I.C.C.). Also, I enforce ordinances. They are the local rules for the safety and quality of life for all our residents. The enforcement of codes and ordinances helps protect all our property values and makes Lansdowne an even nicer place to live.

It’s a big job, code enforcement. Here in Lansdowne we are committed to doing it well and making a difference.

Lansdowne Library News

Amy Gillespie

The Friends of the Lansdowne Library have an interesting math problem. How many nickels are in a mile? One role of nickels, $2.00, equals 3 inches. Four rolls are in a foot. So, it would take 21,120 rolls to stretch a mile. Therefore, there are 844,800 nickels in a mile.

What is the significance of this? It is one mile from one end of Lansdowne to the other. And the Friends want to be able to line the way in nickels. So, they have been asking patrons to donate wrapped nickels. The wrappers, available at the front desk at the Library, have special labels on them so the Friends know who is helping them make the journey.

Margaret Jerdon has already covered quite a distance herself. She has donated over $100.00 in nickels (that would be about 12 feet). Rumor has it that you cannot enter her house without turning over whatever nickels you happen to have in your pockets, purse, or wallet. She knows you have them, and won’t let you leave until they are earmarked for the Library.

This fundraiser is one way the Friends help support the Lansdowne Library. Using the money they raise, they fund projects and programs, such as the planter wall recently installed in the library parking lot and new bike rack on the front lawn.

As the kick off for "National Libraries Week" , writer, Norton Juster, author of "The Phantom Tollbooth" will visit the Lansdowne Library April 7, 2003 6:30 PM. Space Limited Registration Required 610-623-0239

Bulk Pick Up and Hazardous Waste

Bulk pick up will start on Monday, April 28th beginning with the west side of Owen Avenue. On Monday, May 3rd ,they’ll go to the east side of Owen Avenue. They’ll finish up on Monday, May 12th with the area south of Baltimore Avenue.

This is a great time to clear your garages, sheds and basements of all your unwanted junk and broken appliances. We will pick up almost anything tires, furniture, washers, dryers, air conditioners…all your junk! ** Please remember to remove the doors of your refrigerators BEFORE you place them out for pick up. Leaving them on poses a safety hazard to children. While we won’t take oil based paint (paint that cannot be cleaned up using water), we will take latex paint BUT it has to be completely dried out and the lid CANNOT be on the can. You can dry it out by mixing it with kitty litter or by letting it completely air dry.

If you have old furniture that is still in good shape, or a TV that still works but you no longer use, try to remember those less fortunate than you and give a call to a thrift shop or Purple Heart (call 215-642-7541 to schedule a pick up). They’ll pick up good, clean items and you’ll get a receipt to use as a deduction on your income taxes. It’s a win/win situation!!

We will not pick up hazardous waste

(oil-based paint, paint thinner, varnish, kerosene, gasoline, car batteries, antifreeze, motor oil, weed killers, pesticides, fungicides, mercury thermometers). Please save these items for Delaware County’s Household Hazardous Waste collection, which will be held on the following dates and at the following locations.

  • April 26th and September 13th

    Marple Transfer Station, Broomall

  • May 31st

    Chester Transfer Station, Chester

  • June 21st

    Emergency Services Training Center Calcon Hook Road, Darby Twp

  • August 16th

    American Ref-Fuel, Chester

For directions and more information, you can visit the County’s website at www.co.delaware.pa.us/recycle, or call 1-800- 346-4242.

THE MARKET FOR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN LANSDOWNE

The Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation commissioned a market study from S. Huffman Associates to help create a strategic plan for economic development in Lansdowne. What follows is the summary of their findings. If you have any comments about the findings please feel free to contact Norman Council, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee or Mayor Jayne Young. Both can be reach via e-mail at counciln@borough.lansdowne.pa.us and mayorjayne@aol.com, respectively or call Borough Hall at 610-623-7300.

A Report to the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation
January 2003

Executive Summary

This market analysis has been submitted to the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) to address several issues that must be answered in order for the Corporation to move toward its goal of spearheading economic revitalization throughout the Borough. The key issues that this study was designed to address include:

  • Lansdowne’s competitive position in relation to other commercial areas with which it competes;
  • The appropriate types of goods and services that should be represented in the Borough;
  • Other types of commercial enterprises with the potential to fare well in the Borough;
  • Strategies that the Corporation can use to bring about revitalization in its community.

In addition, the Corporation may use the market study as part of an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for funding under the New Communities/Main Street Program.

The work program that S. Huffman Associates used in conducting this market study involved the use of secondary data to the greatest extent possible. The primary and secondary trade areas were first defined with the help of Board members of the LEDC and consideration of the major access routes into the community. Also taken into consideration were the locations of competing retail facilities in the primary and secondary market areas. Calculations were made of the retail expenditures of Lansdowne residents and residents of its surrounding communities, through the use of year 2000 Census data and data from Claritas, Inc. These calculations were then compared to expenditures within the Borough to estimate the retail dollars that leave the community and that might be attracted into it from its immediate neighbors. The LEDC conducted consumer surveys to elicit responses from residents on where they buy various types of goods, and why they do not buy more in Lansdowne. Perceptions of maintenance, security, and availability of parking were elicited, so that community attitudes and input were taken into account. A limited survey of businesses was also undertaken by the LEDC. Following is a summary of the market study.

Lansdowne’s Competitive Position. Many of Lansdowne’s advantages and selling points are created by the extent to which it differs from some of its further out suburban neighbors. At first glance, it appears to operate at a disadvantage to these neighbors because it is an inner ring suburb without the available land that attracts large-scale new development, and because it lacks the highway access that can be found at locations closer to such major highways as Route 476. It is, however, the exact opposite of Springfield Township, and can use this to its advantage. Lansdowne’s advantages include:

  • Excellent transit access that makes it just 15 minutes from Center City Philadelphia;
  • Good road access to the City and the Region;
  • The character of a pleasant and convenient place to be, where service is good and storeowners are friendly, helpful, and offer personal service;
  • Exceptional architectural character, including its two historic districts;
  • A committed community that gets involved in its issues and maintains its character;
  • A number of arts groups involved with theatre, dance, and music;
  • A relatively dense residential area within walking distance of downtown;
  • A taxing structure that does not levy an Earned Income, Mercantile, or Use and Occupancy Tax.

Lansdowne, in fact, is not a retail commercial location in the sense that Springfield Township or 69 th Street in Upper Darby are. Only four percent of the Borough’s total land area is zoned for commercial use. Lansdowne’s population is not growing, making it less attractive to retailers than higher growth, farther out suburban areas, and there is not enough available land downtown to attract larger retailers like Barnes & Noble. Although municipal parking lots appear to be adequate for the level of business that the Borough currently attracts, a recent visit to the parking lots near the SEPTA station showed them to be full before 9 AM. There is also the perception, and often the reality, of traffic congestion along Baltimore Pike and on South Lansdowne Avenue.

Although there are a few establishments that function as destination stores, like Todaro’s music store and Faden’s jewelry store, the relatively small number of stores in Lansdowne’s Central Business District at Lansdowne Avenue and Baltimore Pike do not currently offer a wide variety of goods and services. Consequently, shoppers who go to Lansdowne and Baltimore are unlikely to make multiple stops, and, if this is their goal, may choose to go to Springfield Township instead. Finally, when comparing the results of a business inventory conducted by the LEDC in the summer to the results of two field trips taken during the fall, it became apparent that there is a high turnover rate among some of the retailers in the Borough. Typically, this happens when a business lacks a business plan and is undercapitalized.

While the Borough is not currently a prime retail location, it is still at this time a pleasant place to be with an active civic life, excellent accessibility, and a wealth of historic architecture. This, coupled with its lack of an Earned Income Tax, makes it a prime location to grow small businesses. In fact, because the population of its primary market area is under 12,000 residents, and because there is so much shopping in Springfield Township as well as in Drexel Hill in Upper Darby, Lansdowne must add more shoppers if it is to add more shopping. We recommend that it do this by adding to its daytime population by attracting and encouraging small businesses to its downtown, and by making it easy for them to thrive. Following are recommended strategies for both office and retail commercial by location.

Recommendations on Increasing the Employment Base: There are two office buildings currently available in downtown Lansdowne. The first is a 21,000 square foot building on the southwest corner of Lansdowne and Baltimore. It is completely vacant, and is asking $15.50 per square foot. It has central air conditioning, divisible spaces, offstreet parking, and easy access to the Lansdowne train station. The realtor’s first choice would be to sell the entire complex (including the adjacent shopping center) to a single user for $3,700,000.

The second is an old Bell Telephone building on Baltimore Avenue. This building will probably be more difficult than the Lansdowne Avenue/Baltimore Pike building, since it is likely that it has environmental hazards. Either of these two sites is appropriately located so that any employees working in them would have easy access to the shopping area at Lansdowne Avenue and Baltimore Pike.

The third development site is not a potential office/employment location, but one that does have the potential to generate additional economic activity in the center of town. It is the movie theatre on Lansdowne Avenue, and the Development Corporation has been involved with it for some time. Several investors/operators have expressed interest in it, but there has been no financial commitment to renovate and reopen it. It is currently on the market, and office space on the second floor is for rent.

Old theaters in inner ring suburbs are such a difficult problem that a national nonprofit organization, the League of Historic American Theatres (www.lhat.org) has been formed to address the problem and to assist members with solutions. The LEDC has met with several theatre operators, some of whom feel that they could bring in first run movies and run the theatre as a going business. It is likely that they are right. We were able to identify three active theatres within a five-mile radius (the AMC at the Marple Crossroads Shopping Center, United Artists on MacDade Boulevard, Holmes, PA, and a United Artists at 69 th Street in Upper Darby). If the LEDC is not able to find an operator, it may have to consider taking on the theatre as a combination movie house, theatre for live performances, and office space for itself and possibly other non-profits in the community, or preserving the fade and redeveloping the rear.

Finally, several proposals have been put forth as part of the Delaware County Renaissance Program that could have a significant impact on Lansdowne’s commercial areas. The first Renaissance target area is the Baltimore Avenue Corridor, which is the main access road for Lansdowne and its neighbors; revitalizing it could provide a new "gateway" to all of these communities. There has also been a proposal to develop vacant, underutilized industrial space for an office/employment center on Union Avenue, bordering on Upper Darby, and to construct a walkway between it and the Lansdowne Train Station. This could generate additional foot traffic/potential shoppers for the Borough, especially on Baltimore Pike.

Recommendations on Retail Commercial: An issue that surfaced in the shopper surveys was the lack of a large modern supermarket. However, the Mar-Win Shop n’ Bag on West Marshall Street has recently doubled in size, and there is an Acme on Union Avenue, a Great Value at the Drexeline Shopping Center, a Super Acme on State Road and Lansdowne Avenue, and other large markets in Clifton Heights and in Springfield. For these reasons, we believe that Lansdowne is relatively well served with food markets.

Because of the estimated $10 million outflow of retail dollars in the "food away from home" retail category, we recommend that the LEDC actively pursue attractive, sit down restaurants as potential tenants for its downtown area. The demographics of the market area are of the appropriate ages and income levels to support this type of establishment. If it is able to generate an additional daytime population in either of the vacant office buildings, or to bring about the renovation and reopening of its theatre, the need for new restaurants will increase. Although the past year has seen a number of new "BYOB" restaurants throughout the region, these businesses are more easily attracted to a location where they have the option to obtain a liquor license either at the time of opening or at some point in the future.

In addition to the lack of restaurants in Lansdowne, there are other retail establishments that are underrepresented in the Borough. These include specialty sporting goods stores, like a bicycle shop, a camera shop, and possibly additional independent bookstores. Finally, Todaro’s and Faden’s are interesting examples of small, independent shops selling unique items that are actually destination stores. These types of stores can play an important role in drawing customers in from other locations. Other stores, including the Dollar Tree on Lansdowne Avenue, are national chains with strong financial backing and have been successful in the town.

Lansdowne’s population, and the market for a revitalized commercial area, is predominately white-collar professional and is characterized by Claritas, Inc., in its PRIZM System, as "urban achievers" who are sports minded, ski or play golf, and are more likely than not to be childless. They listen to news radio and jazz, and are likely to read a major newspaper, some type of finance magazine, and Bon Appetit or Gourmet magazines. The secondary market area is more mixed, with a mixture of white and blue-collar people who listen to news radio and read some type of sports magazine.

In order to revitalize its commercial corridors, Lansdowne must have a full time person responsible for implementation and for mobilizing the resources for revitalization. Responsibilities would include organizing the business community, attracting new businesses, coordinating promotional activities, dealing with design issues, and working toward the reuse and rehabilitation of buildings within the commercial corridors. We recommend that the Borough apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for funding under its New Communities/Main Street Program for this purpose.

Upcoming Lansdowne Cultural Events

Celebration Theater of Lansdowne

Phone# 610-259-1800

“I Hate Hamlet”
April 25 -May 11,2003

A soap opera star from L.A. comes to NYC to play Hamlet. He rents the apartment of matinee idol John Barrymore,whose ghost returns and laughs erupt.

The Lansdowne Folk Club Tenth Anniversary Concert

Thursday, March 27th – Harmonius Wail

You have to hear this band. String swing, retro bop, nonelectric – whatever. After a few measures of Harmonious Wail, all the labels start to fall off like last month’s post-it notes. Imagine Dan Hicks, Bill Monroe, Django Reinhardt and maybe Benny Goodman … with the Andrews Sisters. Like I said, you have to hear this band.

Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
For more information call 610-622-7250

Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra

Sunday, March 23 2003, at 3PM Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, Upper Darby High School

  • BEETHOVEN: Fidelio Overture
  • GRIEG: Symphonic Dances, Op. 64
  • WAGNER: Siegfried Idyll
  • W. SCHUMAN: New England Triptych

For more information call 610.284.3719

Philadelphia Open House Tour

"Victorian Lansdowne Pa"
Sponsored by the Friends of Independence Park.

Tour one of Philadelphia’s earliest commuter suburbs and explore two late 19th century neighborhood, featuring 173 homes rich in architectural variety, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Tuesday May 1st, 2003
For more information call 215-928-1188

Artists of Lansdowne

In September of 2003 the Borough of Lansdowne, the LEDC and other community partners will be sponsoring the "Lansdowne Fine Arts Festival". This will be a weekend long event during which Lansdowne is talented citizens will have the opportunity to display, promote and sell their work. If you are interested in participating in or helping to develop the festival, please call Norman Council at 610-622-7169

Penn Wood High School Juried Art Show and Sale

April 27 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Place: Penn Wood High School Auxiliary Gym

Remember to mark your calendars for Primary Election Day May 20
Voter’s Registration Forms are available year round at Borough Hall
* no trash collection on election day

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