Mission Statement

Our Mission
We are a non-partisan, citizen-based network mobilized to promote the revitalization of our community by learning and building upon the best practices of other successful community models. We hope to inspire fellow residents, local businesses and our elected officials by partnering with them to creatively seek new solutions through Arts-Based Community Development and Creative Placemaking.

Notes from Adam Tecza

Reimagine Runnemede Meeting with guest consultant Adam Tecza

As you may recall, Ken invited Adam Tecza to address our group on 5/16/19 to give his

first impressions of Runnemede, identify our strengths, and offer examples of actions

which could make the business section more appealing. He was very generous, sharing

ideas, based on his initial evaluation, gratis. Four pages of notes I recorded follow.

I offer these notes for your review (or to see for the first time) as we re-consider hiring

Adam’s professional services to guide development of our business sector on the Black

Horse Pike--our original goal for Reimagine Runnemede

Just as a reminder, these recommendations were made in 2019--pre-Covid--so some

may no longer be relevant or appropriate.

Diane Fredrickson, Secretary

Adam’s impression upon entering Runnemede, when you cross under the overpass:

Instant greenery, more foliage

2 lanes, with a different flow than further up in Bellmawr, which slows traffic and gives a

different feel

Less visual clutter

We have a “gateway” (Exit 3) Remember, Kandy wanted “an Exit 3 T-shirt!

If we see 20,000 cars pass through daily, we could have a modest goal to capture 1%--

that would mean 200 cars would stop to buy

Re: engagement of residents

Because we all live busy lives (especially young families), engagement is a challenge.

You must go where people gather (ie. sports fields) to spread the word, rather than

expecting them to come to you

Metropolitan Planning Organizations, which budget transportation, etc. include Bergen,

Monmouth counties. Philadelphia includes Camden, Gloucester, Montgomery and

Bucks counties. Need >$150K capital to be in the “big league.” Must look to

Universities, schools, and smaller grants for funding initially, then can build to bigger

things

Most towns use capital budget to fund master planning efforts (ie. corridor studies)

Town leverage to talk about broader elements

Focus on: economic, land use and downtown feature elements

Recommend a market study-rate ideas based on resident input and build to command

Re-development aides put a bid together to present to a developer. The biggest

concern for developers is RISK. They don’t want to get involved unless the borough

wants a particular thing. They want to avoid protests--something the towns people

DON’T want

(Tecza consultant notes-pg 2)

Runnemede committed to non-condemnation, non eminent domain

Look at the whole corridor

Make an “urban acupuncture” - a vision in a smaller, important area

Free up land for developing

Design a “shared parking” arrangement (ie. people can park in a church lot on

weekdays

Town should adopt “shared parking” ordinance to facilitate the process

Issues with parking include liability

Agreements must be in contract form with timeframes clearly designated to assure

smooth parking situations/understanding -- avoid conflicts

Connect assets

Set short term goals and long term goals

Mural/public art is highly visible and therefore people get a sense of things changing

immediately

Change in a community is very important - engagement is key! When a resident can say

“I painted this part of the mural” it translates to pride, accomplishment

Retail trends: #1 item ordered on Amazon is men’s tube socks --standard item-no

surprises

People are interested in “experience retail”--things they can see, touch, taste,

smell--experiences they cannot get on-line ie. a Pet a Kitten store

On-line shopping is only 5% of all retail sales * remember this was pre-Covid!

Try to use the environment around you to increase local business ie. people come into

Runnemede from the industrial park to eat lunch

Let artists take over vacant spaces. Even hanging decorations in the windows of empty

buildings helps attract attention, make things look alive. Put art in empty shops

Franchises versus personal ownership? Bring companies in--have a model for them to

look at

Shared marketing is popular with restaurants. Ie McDonald’s found a good spot, so

Wendy’s, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts will follow. The marketing footwork was

already done for them

(Tecza consultant notes - pg 3)

Rotary Club here includes Bellmawr, Runnemede, and Barrington. Limited involvement,

but sometimes can get them involved if there’s an attractive project. Clubs serve as a

venue to talk about business partnerships

Start with a vision and articulate what you want

2 tiers of development: Zoning ordinances (what you can build there) and more robust

plans --what you WANT there

Present request for proposals of what you want and where

Develop a contract with a developer --look for tax abatement advantages, etc

Do a market analysis --what is likely to succeed?

Have target areas and know what resources you may have to reduce costs, or add

expertise - ie Runnemede has a master gardener who designed 3 butterfly gardens

Do what EXCITES you. Start easy and attract attention. We speak of “tool kits” --

Ie. “We will be willing to put planters in front of your business and we will take care of

them” Offer help --don’t just ask the business to do extra. Offer $, time and effort to local

businesses. Offer the “what’s in it for me?” element

Raise the scale of what you do gradually

Might start with the idea of designating certain hours for the community center to be

used for a teen center for a period of time (pilot program). Consistent hours, time in the

summer

Use an artist in residence. Reach out to property owners. Get the town to take the

liability issues, then create programs for the teens

Use signs as art. Some towns used only 1950’s style signs (no electronic) and it served

as a distinction. Use spinning art, mosaic signs, etc

As a municipality, you CONTROL what you DON’T want and help people understand

how it makes the town thrive. You want people passing through the town to see and feel

a difference

Create a vision for the community. Use strategic interventions (ie. “urban acupuncture”)

To determine where businesses can have a big impact. Send your proposal to

developers. Ie. What do you want a “business friendly” to look like in Runnemede?

(Adam Tecza consultant notes -pg 4)

Sit at the table with businesses. “My door is open. I’m looking for (something

specific)” Approach a business owner and say,”We see an opportunity for your

store--are you interested?”

Experience retail is most popular. Dining services, wine and cheese tasting, touch, craft

beers, etc. Cycles of service are seen. Malls are dying. People want vibrant, walkable

downtowns

Furniture use is down (young people want less furniture, want to be positioned in certain

regions)

Decide what you want. It’s a little like dating--you know to some extent what you want

Start small. Do not allocate too much all at once

Retail follows people--market affordable housing, good schools, multi-family units, etc

Who are the people who spend money here?

Plan with residents--area wide (zoning, etc)

Set standards for whole districts but specify ideas and approach property owners

Do ASSET MAPPING ie. We have a historic district, a community center, a library, etc

What is going to drive growth here?

What attracts people? Look at the average age of residents; look at taxes compared to

other communities, etc.

What do we have going for us in Runnemede?

Mayor says there is money in the budget for “facade improvement” and public art--tied

to tax abatement

Mayor does not want residents to think we (municipality) are intermediaries to take their

properties

Medical marijuana --must grow and sell (have both components) 

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