by Justin Sweitzer
Northampton Borough Council may soon find an ally in their efforts to develop and revitalize the borough’s business community, as the Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce revealed plans to add a Main Street Manager position to the chamber’s own board. The initiative was revealed at borough council’s Oct. 18 meeting, where Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce President Tony Pristash outlined the organization’s recent successes, as well as the chamber’s plans for new opportunities and development.
Pristash, who also serves as a member of borough council but chose to speak only as a member of the chamber, said that the position would be responsible for looking for ways to revitalize the borough, seeking out opportunities for grant money and would work to fill openings where businesses could operate.
Pristash also said that the manager would be in charge of planning out long and short term development for the borough.
“What I would do with the Main Street Manager is simply sit down with them, do a one-, five- and 10-year plan on revitalization,” he said. “They’d make regular presentations to borough council and keep everybody invested in what we’re doing.”
The position would report to Pristash and the rest of the chamber’s board.
Pristash noted that while councils and chambers of commerce often split the cost of hiring a manager in charge of business development, the Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce would foot the bill for the Main Street Manager position.
“In this case, the chamber will be picking up the tab,” Pristash said. He described the position as an “entrepreneurial, private sector initiative.”
In other chamber of commerce-related business, Pristash also thanked council for their cooperation regarding this year’s Northampton Street Fair, which he said was the borough’s most successful street fair in over 20 years.
“We had a very profitable street fair, and it’s because of your ‘yes’ to allow us to have it that made it so,” he said.
Pristash said that this year’s event marked numerous firsts for the historic street fair, as alcohol was served for the first time, and police officers were also on the site for the first time.
“I’m here to say thank you to borough council, for allowing us the facilities, the street crew and other things we had for our street fair,” he said. “It was our 29th street fair, and was our most successful in over 20 years.”
Pristash said the chamber of commerce has helped grow the event since its inception 29 years ago to an event that attracts visitors from across the Lehigh Valley.
“Now, it’s a Lehigh Valley-wide event,” he said.