Ferguson Township employees don't have very many food options in the immediate area for their lunch break.
One township resident is looking to solve that problem by bringing lunch right to the businesses where they work.
Michael Marx, a State College-based caterer and career restauranteur, addressed the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors on Monday night regarding a potential ordinance regulating food trucks.
"Food trucks are a mobile expression of the culinary arts," Marx says. "This area is a big void for food. For me personally, I can't own a brick and mortar establishment and put in 90 hours a week. I have a family. This is a way for me to be in the food business without owning a brick and mortar."
Marx is the owner of World's Fare Catering, the self-proclaimed "most versatile caterer" in Centre County. He is interested in operating a food truck connected with his catering company, but currently can't do so because the township lacks a clear ordinance dictating how such businesses are licensed and operated.
While the State College Borough and surrounding townships have regulations regarding food trucks, Ferguson has yet to legislate the business practice. Marx lives in Ferguson Township and wants to serve employees in his community.
"My goal is not to hit all of the surrounding townships. I can keep myself busy a few days a week just serving the township," he says. "That niche does not exist here, whether it’s brick and mortar or a food truck. We’re not talking about anything that is a stress on public safety. We’re filling a public need."
While a tangible ordinance regarding food trucks won't come immediately, Marx is willing to work with the borough on drafting legislation. Marx says he's done extensive research on food truck legislation and has suggestions for the board on license fees, hours of operation, locations where food trucks can operate, and so on.
While Marx is the first to approach the board about food trucks, he says other business owners in the food industry are interested in doing the same. He suggests a consortium of sorts, where food trucks alternate between various township businesses to avoid stepping on each other's toes.
"It works well for local businesses because they can keep their employees at the office and make sure that their lunch break is actually 30 minutes," he says. "With the limited options in the township, you have to travel if you don't want to eat at the same couple of places every day."
Vice Chairman Drew Clemson charged the board with looking into a potential ordinance on food trucks.
"Let's be proactive on this and work on forming an ordinance on this instead of sitting back and waiting," he says.
The council also spoke about adding a sidewalk along three properties on West College Avenue just north of Bristol Avenue. The board heard a presentation from residents along the stretch on March 16. They say that a CATA bus stop is difficult to access, especially during the winter.
After a brief discussion, the board passed a motion to survey the land in order to fully understand what the project would entail and cost.
"The key to me is to get this done before the snow flies again because that was the real hardship out there," Clemson says. "Hopefully we can get this done before football season and everybody’s happy."
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