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Quakertown Business Owners Remain Skeptical with Gateway Plan
Written by Kelly Kalb Correspondent

                Business owners of downtown Quakertown spoke to officials June 4 about possible traffic pattern changes and parking concerns along West Broad Street.

                Specifically, downtown merchants Scott Soost, owner of Tana Kaya Boutique, and Ralph Moyer Jr. of Moyer's Shoes addressed borough council claiming to represent the majority of business owners along W. Broad Street.

                Their concerns lie with what is known as the "Gateway Project," which entails traffic pattern changes along Broad and Branch streets, as well as construction of a three-story, office-style building within the triangle parking lot. The $6.9 million building would house office and retail space and a restaurant.

                Soost's remarks were targeted toward developer Dave Halliday, who was not present during the meeting. However, Halliday has met with business owners several times to discuss his plans in detail.

                Soost questioned whether a $2 million state grant was, in fact, obtained by Halliday, stating,"I contacted the governor's office, but they said there is nothing on record for the grant."

                Borough Manager Scott McElree said that he will provide a letter from the governor's office stating details of the grant.

                Tempers also flared in discussion of Halliday's original plans for the three-story structure. "I have a copy of the original plan and it says 122 employees [will work at the building] but we're all being told only 60 employees will be in the building. How do we get 122 down to 60, which he has been saying?" Soost asked. He added, "Parking will be an issue and needs to be addressed before a decision is made. Businesses need to have ample parking or customers' patience will be pushed."

                McElree responded, "Mr. Halliday should address your concerns directly. What we're aware of is 60 to 70 employees. The plan is preliminary and I can't speak for Mr. Halliday."

                Moyer  provided officials with results of a questionnaire he developed to poll merchants' opinions on the project.

                "The triangle plan is not a good idea. I've walked around to 45 businesses so far distributing the questionnaire. The first question was regarding the traffic pattern changes. Out of the business owners I spoke to, three are for it, 36 are against it and seven aren't sure. The second question was regarding the new construction at the triangle parking lot. Out of 45 business owners, three are for it, 39 are against it and three aren't sure," Moyer said.

                He added, "Four months ago you guys should've done this. Customers all day say they think it's crazy, a lot of people are against this."

                Officials stated previously that many attempts were made to speak to business owners along W. Broad Street, with a large portion being in favor of the project. Council Vice President Don Rosenberger said he was skeptical about responses of a poll being done face-to-face and the varying results.





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