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Mt. Pleasant BDA looking at new programs for 2014

| Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority on Wednesday passed its 2014 budget and discussed programs it will be implementing this year.

“Our budget has been exactly the same for the past several years,” authority Treasurer Dale Walker said. The budget is balanced at $42,350.

The Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority is the longest operating authority in the state, according to authority members. It was formed in 1983. It's mission statement — “to improve, promote and enhance our businesses and preserve their property values.”

The authority has completed several projects over the years, including the creation of the Social Walkway areas, planting and maintaining trees along Main Street and marketing and promoting businesses in Mt. Pleasant.

Newer programs and grant opportunities that were created by the authority include ones to help businesses with the beautification and promotion of their establishments.

“We are still offering the sign program, which is a matching grant program for the businesses,” President Nino Barsotti said. The grant program offers businesses up to $500. It is a matching grant. “We have had several businesses take advantage of that one, but we are still offering it.”

The sidewalk and facade matching grant offers businesses up to $1,000 to be used for the sidewalk area directly in front of the businesses or the front areas of the facilities.

A grant program recently launched is a matching grant available for businesses to use for advertising purposes.

“We haven't had anyone sign up for the advertising grant yet, but it's still pretty new,” Barsotti said.

Secretary Charlotte Mowry said all forms and needed information for any of the matching grant programs are available at Saloom's Department Store.

Barsotti said the authority plans to continue many other projects, such as the flower urn project that provides store owners with large flower urns and plants that are to be placed in front of businesses. It also will continue the popular farmers markets, which are held weekly July through October.

“We have a nice farmers market here,” Mowry said, who is in charge of the registration and forms for the market. “The vendors that came this year usually sold out every week.”

The authority owns the In-Town-Shop business incubator that presently has three spaces available. There is also a vacancy in one of the apartments located on the second floor.

“It's a nice apartment with two bedrooms,” Barsotti said of the unit, which rents for $500 a month and includes water and heat. “It's actually quite spacious.”

The authority added two new members — Kim Giles from Shop Demo Depot and Deborah Salopek who is the Laurel Highlands Chapter manager of the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce.

Barsotti said the authority is looking forward to another productive year and hopes to soon find a new part-time office manager.

“We are looking for an office manager, and it should preferably be someone with a background in promotion and marketing,” Barsotti said.

Anyone who is interested in the position, the apartment or who needs information on any of the programs can call 724-547-5257.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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