By DARRELL JACKSON, The Glendale Star
The Glendale Chamber of Commerce and new Downtown Development Manager Katy Engels held their first downtown merchant and stakeholder meeting Nov. 28 with more than 50 local businesses owners questioning what the direction for downtown is going to be.
“I want to help business owners in an advisory board and these meetings will help assists you with any questions, or issues you may have,” Engels said. “I want you all to come to me, if you have having issues, need a business plan, or license, or with any issues you may have. I am here to advocate for all business owners in downtown Glendale.”
Many issues were raised relating to safety, lighting, and vendor issues during the city’s special events and about the direction they would like to see the downtown area head.
“We are here to assist you and help you with all issues you have and we are here to fight for you,” said Chamber President Robert Heidt.
Another issue was vacant buildings in the downtown area that have been boarded up and no maintenance has been taken on them, with business owners asking the city to purchase the parcels in questions.
“We can have a question about those properties, but because the city does not own it and it is privately owned, there is not much we can do,” said Economic Development Officer Jessi Pederson. “Unfortunately, since those properties are privately owned, the mayor has wanted to buy those to make parks, but the owners are not interested in selling.”
Heidt, Pederson and Engels all said the city continues to research what they can do about those properties.
“I am one to take shots at city staff when they deserve it, but they have been discussing what can be done about those properties in question,” Heidt said.
Engels added that she was hoping to hold these merchant meetings quarterly, and she is always open to discussing issues with business owners, as well as forming advisory groups to get things done for downtown.
“We need to know any issues and questions that you want to see changed,” Engels said. “I also want to have groups of (business owners) to have advisory groups to research things and then bring them to everyone during these meetings.”
Some of the groups she would like to see formed are to discuss lighting, safety, graffiti, flower pots in front of businesses, sidewalks and signage and banners addressing the downtown area.
“With advisory groups, they can focus on specific issues and then we can get things done and all thoughts and ideas among business owners,” Engels said. “We are here to work for you and we will continue to try and bring customers to the downtown area.”