Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Committee looks at Marketplace Revitalization Project


A "Columbia Marketplace Revitalization Project" was presented during the  borough's September 20 Public Property Committee meeting.

A group of four presenters, led by Cullen Farrell and Robert Irwin, gave a 45-minute presentation about an Aquaponic Booth to be housed inside the Columbia Market House near the entrance to the dungeon.

An Aquaponic system combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

According to the presenters, the system would provide education as a micro-farm for children.  Re-branding Columbia, economic stimulation, tourism, were among other purported advantages of having an Aquaponic Booth.

The presenters reassured the committee that if the booth is built, they will stay with the project in Columbia.  One presenter said he plans to relocate to Columbia and wouldn't just be here on weekends.

Adding a greenhouse at the borough farm was also proposed.  Borough Manager Greg Sahd asked if it would provide crops year-round. "Yes, 10-12 harvests per year," a presenter said.

Committee Chair Pam Williams asked if foods grown this way taste the same as foods grown in the ground and was told it will be an individual taste decision. Fish would also be sold at the Aquaponics Booth.

Presenters said that they have already discussed the proposal with Council President Kelly Murphy, Ron Miller, market vendors, and some "other folks." Murphy said "We have to try something different here."  Roche FitzGerald said, "It's a really cool thing, and it's all the rage on the west coast."  

Mayor Lutz said, "I'm 100% for it, but we need to move fast."  Lutz advised the group to look into grants but added that one cannot start a project and then apply for grant money to be reimbursed. The grant application must be done prior to the project. 

The group plans to offer three styles for the Aquaponic Booth, and open the selection process to the public.  Choices would be on display at the market so that patrons can offer comments and participate in the decision. The style displayed during the meeting looked like a small red barn -  almost a "Playskool" style.  


Also on the agenda under "Old Business..."

Kevin Lehman was at the meeting to share details of a concept already presented to the River Park Advisory Committee.  According to the agenda, Lehman was slated to go first, but the Aquaponics presentation was permitted to go first.  Lehman left during that presentation and did not return. 

20 comments:

  1. Yes but they don't have any money and they want the borough to pay for where is the borough going get all that money?

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    1. THEY HAVE LOTS OF MONEY FROM THE SALE OF SEWER OPERATIONS AND THEY PLAN TO SPEND IT ALL ON SOME OF THE STRANGEST IDEAS. JUST WAIT TILL YOU GET TO HEAR ABOUT THEM...AFTER THEY HAVE DECIDED OF COURSE.

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  2. Sounds like a neat idea.If they can get assistance for funding, go for it. I saw this concept on a larger scale at EPCOT in Disney World and I think traffic would increase thru the market and downtown. Again, if it can be done without tax dollars,but with private funds go for it.

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  3. I understand this concept on the WEST COAST, but did you guys forget this is the EAST COAST AREA? I think the boro should just cut back on some of the Indian Chiefs, (like who needs more management?), and see how much money could be saved. Also, this fish thing means more cost for heat in an already cold and drafty building in the winter, and some need for air in the summer, not just a couple fans!

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    1. After building and set-up costs, this will require 24/7 operating costs as well.

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    2. We need to see an electric bill now before the Aquaponic system goes in and then compare it a year later after running electricity for the new system.

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  4. If these guys are vendors, as the one was at market selling juice last year, why aren't they self-funding this venture? Has the borough helped other vendors with financing? The borough most recently funded the trolley which was to attract visitors to the businesses.

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  5. Vacant warehouses are the suggested areas to be used when setting up an Aquaponic system. Perfect place: Old chip factory at corner of Second and Locust Streets. They could buy this and let their business take off!

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    1. Good idea,they could possibly get state and federal funds to start a business. Also use of an old building.

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    2. Will these men be with the Aquaponic Booth on market days? If not, who will staff it? Volunteers? Who collects the profit? Who will maintain it?

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    3. We need to know how much money, tax dollars where lost on the Columbia Trolley! This is just unbelievable!!! Throwing tax dollars under the BUS!!!!

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    4. Be nice to get an exact figure. Somehow I doubt it is that low.

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    5. As a resident and business owner I think the aquaponics in a great thing and should be encouraged to come to market / Columbia. The green house at the farm would be cool too. Here again it shouldbe funded by business and property lease from borough. These ventures should be funded by the individuals through grants, loans, and or funding from investors, saving etc. As I and every other business has to do. This not be a venture the Borough should investing in. This is a private business. The borough should be if anything investing money into the Market House structure and revamping the inside since the exterior has been done sometime ago. Updating the inside would be more of a attraction for business and patrons.
      As a resident I would like to see my tax money go towards the revitalization of the town and market not invest in a private business because if that's the case of Borough loaning monies to businesses I would like to have an application so I can additional funds to add to my funds that i raised for my business so we can move to the next level.

      If the gentlemen need funding here is a few places to look:

      http://www.aquaponicsusa.com/education/where-to-get-an-aquaponics-grant.html

      www.sba.gov

      www.pagrows.pa.gov/grants.aspx

      www.pafarmlink.org/financial-grants.html

      Good luck Aquaponics Barn in you endevor...

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  6. Get rid of the welfare abusers and slums!

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  7. put the whole town in the blighted property land bank and bring in the bulldozers

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  8. Heard they really wanted 2 b in lancaster but the city was smart & wouldn't fund them

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  9. Anyone recall this old TV commercial"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYEXzx-TINc

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