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2019 Annual Report

Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District:

2019 Annual Report

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION

The 2019 Annual Report is provided to Wilkes-Barre City Council, stakeholders of downtown Wilkes-Barre, and the public pursuant to Section 9, (1) and (2), of the Pennsylvania Neighborhood Improvement District Act of 2000.

On August 1, 2007, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District (DWBBID) began providing supplementary place management, place marketing, and economic development services to the properties and businesses of Downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Following extensive discussion and planning, the DWBBID was created by City Council ordinance following the requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Neighborhood Improvement District Act. The DWBBID was renewed in 2012 and in 2018. Its current term expires on December 31, 2028.

The Diamond City Partnership, a 501C3 nonprofit corporation, manages the DWBBID, which serves an area extending from Academy Street in the south to North Street in the north. Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s property and business owners are all partners in the DWBBID: their collective investment makes it possible for the DWBBID to provide these services, and to create a cleaner, safer, and more vibrant Downtown.

Each year, an independent accountant’s audit report is prepared, provided to the City Clerk and the PA Department of Community & Economic Development, and made publicly available. See the full 2019 document, performed by Lawrence Cable & Company, LLP, Certified Public Accountants.

SECTION 2: CHANGES IN BENEFITED PROPERTIES

The DWBBID is funded through an assessment on benefited properties within the Business Improvement District, together with voluntary multiyear contributions from tax-exempt property owners.

SECTION 3: DOWNTOWN ACTION PLAN

The DWBBID’s activities align with Wilkes-Barre’s current Downtown Action Plan. The Plan, whose creation was led by DCP, is built around six “big goals:”

  1. Downtown Wilkes-Barre will be a safe, clean, and attractive place to live, work, shop, and visit.
  2. Downtown Wilkes-Barre will be the region’s college neighborhood.
  3. Downtown Wilkes-Barre will be the region’s “walk-to-everything” neighborhood of choice.
  4. Downtown Wilkes-Barre will be the region’s “Innovation District”: its hub for business, startup activity, and entrepreneurship.
  5. Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s historic architecture, riverfront, colleges, and walkability will be the cornerstones of its enhanced visitor experience.
  6. Downtown Wilkes-Barre will be a regional center of arts, culture, dining, and entertainment.

SECTION 4:  2019 OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES

PLACE DEVELOPMENT: 2019

  • Number of downtown storefront businesses opening: 11 in 2019 (vs. 9 in 2018)
  • Number of downtown storefront businesses closing: 7 in 2019 (vs. 5 in 2018)
  • Net increase in occupied downtown storefronts: 4 in 2019 (vs. 4 in 2018)

PLACE MANAGEMENT: 2019

  • DCP’s Clean Team accomplished the following in 2019:
    • 4,967 Pounds of Trash Removed
    • 105 Graffiti Tags Removed
    • 217 Weed-Abatement Deployments
    • 249 Bills/Stickers Removed
    • 229 Gum Spots Removed
    • 68 Bags of Leaves Removed
    • Maintained 186 hanging baskets
    • 3 Block Faces Power-Washed
    • 66 Pet Waste Cleanups
    • 21 Human Waste Cleanups
    • 32 Motorist Directions Given
    • 36 Pedestrian Directions Given
    • 52 Hours of Snow/Ice Removal
  • The DWBBID funded 380 hours of supplemental downtown patrols by Wilkes-Barre police officers working weekend special details during 2019.
  • For the sixth consecutive year, DCP purchased and maintained 186 hanging floral baskets on lampposts throughout Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s commercial core.
  • In the fall of 2019, DCP installed and planted twelve new large “self-watering” sidewalk planters on the third block of South Main Street and the first block of East South Street. The project was funded through a generous grant from The Luzerne Foundation.

PLACE MARKETING: 2019

Downtown Wilkes-Barre was featured in The Times Leader’s April 2019 Innovation special edition, titled “Downtown Wilkes-Barre on a Positive Trajectory;” and in Penn’s Northeast’s January 2019 Business Park Series publication focusing on the Wyoming Valley.

In all, DCP staff was quoted in 10 different newspaper articles and TV segments dealing with Downtown Wilkes-Barre during 2019.

DCP’s social media presence was anchored by its weekly E-blast, “This Week in Downtown Wilkes-Barre,” which is in its sixth year and boasts 1,227 direct subscribers, with substantial recirculation via traditional and social media channels.

  • DCP Social Media Followers:
    • Instagram: 1101
    • Twitter: 508
    • DWBBA Facebook: 1,850
    • DCP Facebook: 412

For the third consecutive year, DCP printed 1,000 reusable Farmers Market shopping bags, sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, in order to help promote one of Downtown’s signature events.

DCP again served as the Neighborhood Champion for “Small Business Saturday,” coordinating this annual event boosting patronage of Downtown’s small independent businesses through promotional programs and activities that were marketed throughout the region.

On August 28, DCP’s Executive Director led a Y Walk Wednesday guided walk titled “Building a More Walkable Downtown Wilkes-Barre: A Sidewalk View.”

DCP managed the “Art Block” monthly gallery walk event on the second block of South Main Street, culminating in the September event, which featured Keystone College’s Mobile Glass Blowing Studio.

SECTION 5: SPONSORSHIPS

Thank you to all of our 2019 sponsors:

DOWNTOWN WILKES-BARRE VISITORS MAP/GUIDE:

  • Anthracite Not Just a Newsstand
  • Butler Eyecare
  • Circles on the Square
  • The Citizens Voice
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Elizabeth A. Joseph, DMD
  • M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
  • Genetti Best Western Hotel & Conference Center
  • Luzerne County Visitors Bureau
  • Rodano’s/Franklin’s
  • Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald

HANGING FLORAL BASKETS:

  • Downtown Residents Association
  • M. Kirby Center
  • McCarthy Tire
  • PNC
  • King’s College
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Geisinger Health System
  • Riggs Asset Management
  • Wilkes University

HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOPS:

  • PPL Foundation

FARMERS MARKET REUSABLE TOTE BAGS:

  • Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield

SECTION 6: BOARD and COMMITTEES

2019 Board of Directors:

  • Chairman – Joel Zitofsky, Design & Development Co.
  • Vice-Chairman – Steve Barrouk, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services
  • Secretary– James Casey, Casey House
  • Treasurer – Rick Williams, Luzerne County Council
  • CharlesBarber, The Luzerne Foundation
  • Will Beekman, M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
  • Jim Bell, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • Ruth Borland, Esq., Borland & Borland
  • Rebecca Brominski Luzerne County Community College
  • Tony Brooks, Wilkes-Barre City Council
  • Jerome Campbell, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic
  • Steve Daniloff, WBRE-TV/Nexstar Broadasting
  • Gus Genetti, Genetti Best Western Hotel & Conference Center
  • Beth Gilbert, Wilkes-Barre City Council
  • Elizabeth Graham, Riggs Asset Management
  • Mark Grochocki, Office of Pennsylvania State Senator John T. Yudichak
  • Frank Hoegen, Esq., Hoegen & Associates
  • Larry Holeva, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
  • Angel Jirau, Angel Jirau Consulting Company
  • David Jolley, Geisinger Health Systems
  • Bill Jones, United Way of Wyoming Valley
  • Dale Jones, Penn State Wilkes-Barre
  • Rabbi Larry Kaplan, Temple Israel
  • John Maday, Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association
  • John Malta, Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance Company
  • Ken Marquis, Marquis Art & Frame
  • Joe Matteo, The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion
  • Jack McNulty, Office of State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski
  • Susan McHugh, Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association
  • Robert Morgan, Office of Congressman Matt Cartwright
  • Mike Murray, The Times Leader
  • Teri Ooms, The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development
  • Patricia Parks, Downtown Residents Association
  • Patrice Persico, King’s College
  • Brian Rinker, Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Wico Van Genderen, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry
  • Ted Wampole, City of Wilkes-Barre
  • Michael Wood, Wilkes University
  • Reverend Robert Zanicky, First Presbyterian Church

Staff:

  • Lawrence M. Newman, AICP, Executive Director
  • Cassandra Fiume, Program & Marketing Coordinator

SECTION 7: PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITIONS

DCP continues to be Nationally Accredited by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Accreditation demonstrates that DCP meets or exceeds the highest standards for a Main Street program.

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Please direct questions or comments to:

Larry Newman, AICP, Executive Director
Diamond City Partnership
4 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
570-208-9737

www.downtownwilkes-barre.org