In addition to providing regular business assistance, Downtown Chambersburg, Inc. looks to drive a “big picture” planning effort for the downtown, with a goal of attracting long-term investment.
To get public input, DCI is coordinating a series of five Community Visioning Workshops, facilitated by the PA Downtown Center and Derck and Edson Associates, to develop a clear vision for the future of downtown Chambersburg. All stakeholders should plan to attend as many workshops as possible. Each workshop will focus on a different aspect of the visioning process. Visual renderings will be created throughout the process, as well as a vision statement, tagline, and implementation strategy.
DCI raised more than $24,000 in the latter part of 2013 to fund the visioning process, which will lay the groundwork for the next phase, which includes the Downtown Master Plan Update, a document that will drive the physical development of downtown over the next 15-20 years. DCI is working to raise $30,000 for this phase.
The public workshop schedule is as follows:
- Monday, March 17 at 6pm at the Capitol Theatre (The Woods Center)
- Monday, April 21 at 6pm at Central Presbyterian Church on the Square
- Monday, May 19 at 6pm at King Street Church
- Monday, June 16 at 6:30pm at Chambersburg Area Senior High School (Auxiliary Gym)
- Monday, July 21 at 6:30pm at Wilson College (Laird Hall)
Contributors to date include Summit Health, Keystone Health, Wilson College, TB Woods, Vacon, Smith Elliott Kearns and Co, Volvo Construction Equipment, Trinity Episcopal Church, the Franklin County Redevelopment Authority, the Greater Chambersburg 21st Century Partnership, the Community Development Corporation of Franklin County and the Bill Nitterhouse Foundation. The Borough of Chambersburg has appropriated $8,000 in 2014 for the Downtown Master Plan Update.
For more information, call Noel Purdy at 264-7101, ext. 207. Follow workshop information on facebook too.
WORKSHOP FLYER – ENGLISH & SPANISH
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Downtown Chambersburg is more than great restaurants and shopping. We also have great services for your life too. For example you can get investment advice at Edward Jones, F&M Trust, or M&T Bank; legal advice from Hoskinson & Wenger, Sponseller/Graham, Sharpe & Sharpe or Black & Davidson; or Real Estate Services from First Home Mortgage, or Franklin Real Estate Services and Abstract, PB Services. You can even learn about health care options, get architectural design work completed, or research options for elder care. Click on ”Services” to the middle right for a complete list of services available in Downtown Chambersburg.
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An online survey of more than 550 shoppers reveals that food attracts people to downtown Chambersburg, whether it’s a moderately priced meal at a nice restaurant or events such as AppleFest.
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The shoppers’ top choice for a new business downtown is also food-related. Fifty-seven percent chose bakery as the business they would patronize if available, followed by a shoe store (32%) and a butcher shop (23%). A kitchen/home store finished a close fourth in the survey, at 22%.
Downtown Chambersburg Inc., an affiliate of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, will use the survey and other market research to help guide its efforts to recruit businesses to downtown.
“Coupling a meal with shopping or entertainment of some sort is one of the preferred experiences that people seek when they visit,” said Jessica Walter, a member of the DCI Economic Development Committee. Thirteen percent of the respondents said they eat in downtown Chambersburg at least once a week, and another 5% said they eat downtown two to four times a week.
In response to the question of how often they eat out, 32% said they eat dinner outside their home two to four times a week, 24% eat lunch outside the home two to four times a week and 3.5% eat breakfast outside the home that frequently. Almost 40% of the respondents said they would like to see a late night eating/drinking establishment, and 21% would like to see a seafood restaurant open in downtown Chambersburg. The majority of respondents live 5-10 minutes from downtown.
“The opportunity for more restaurants is there. That would be a draw,” said Noel Purdy, president of DCI.
The survey also validated the desire for events. “Events like IceFest are important to downtown businesses,” according to Purdy. IceFest was chosen at the most popular event, followed by AppleFest and the holiday parade in November. First Friday activities and the North Square Farmers Market also are popular attractions. Fifty-four percent said they’d like to see a concert/performance venue developed.
“What we also found in the research was an overwhelming admiration for the unique charm of downtown Chambersburg. People enjoy the history and the architecture as well as the small-town feel,” Walter added.
While a majority of the respondents (39%) said they like the look and feel of downtown, 28% said they do not feel safe there at night. Despite the safety concern, however, 80% said they’d like to see businesses open after 5 p.m.
“Some of the sources we used include a consumer survey, a market analysis, a trade area analysis, a retail opportunity gap analysis, and customer profiles,” Walter said. “When you look at the composite of the findings from that data, you can see who is likely to come downtown, what they want to do while they’re here, how much they’re willing to spend, and how far they’ll drive to get here.
“Now that we have the insight provided by each of these sources, we can confidently move forward with establishing priorities for developing downtown Chambersburg. One of the first steps is to recruit businesses that will fit in with the downtown experience we’re trying to create,” Walter said.
“People see downtown as unique, historical and charming. Those are qualities that we need to use in our strategy to revitalize downtown,” Purdy added
Chambersburg’s hometown brewery, Roy-Pitz Brewing Company, is now selling six packs. Established in 2008, the brewery has a huge following and has recently expanded its product line to include bottles. Six packs available at 140 North Third Street
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Chambersburg, PA 17201. Hours are Tues – Fri 4 – 8 p.m.; Sat 1 – 5 p.m. Closed Sun-Mon. Tours are also available of the brewery by appointment. Visit www.roypitz.com for more info.