For Borough Council
Lansdale Ward 1
Fairmount Fire Company &
Penndale Middle School
I'm a proud North Penn School District alum and a borough resident of 27 years with a background in Psychology and case work, with certifications in steward leadership, positive youth development, motivational interviewing, trauma informed care and Botvin Lifeskills drug prevention techniques. I have four years experience in accounting and tax, managing both small and large businesses and consulting with community improvement districts. For the past six years I have found my true passion in nonprofit program coordination, union and community organizing, field work, and campaign management, fundraising and consulting.
In these arenas, I’ve worked with complex and diverse teams to find innovative solutions on quick timelines. I have helped design and coordinate United Way affiliated non-profit programs, assisted professional design companies, managed 120 person staffed canvass offices, and have personally knocked over 10,000 doors in over 15 states, successfully fundraising hundreds of thousands of dollars and passing half a dozen pieces of legislation through ballot initiatives, voter education and grass roots organizing. I have traveled the country participating in local revitalization groups, steward leadership programs, committees and political campaigns all to return to my childhood home to raise my family and bring the diverse experiences of managerial and political knowledge back to my borough.
I currently reside in Lansdale's 1st Ward, raising my incredible 15 month old son, and so have a continued vested interest in making this the BEST community possible for our generation and future generations. I have a keen interest in sociological structures, human psychology and the science of empathy. I strive to bring innovation, passion and humor to each project I touch, and truly believe we are all here to help make the world a better place.
The Lansdale of today is very different from the Lansdale of my childhood. There are many more opportunities, small businesses, diverse food options, improved parks and playgrounds, family activities, First Fridays and a burgeoning and vibrant main street culture. With these new types of attractions, the borough benefits as a whole through increased property values which in turn increase our budgets to improve and invest in infrastructure and the revitalization of our downtown.
With this expansion however, comes some growing pains. While knocking doors, I have heard complaints about residences being split into multi-family homes and, have not only heard the complaints, but witnessed myself a serious lack of parking downtown that subsequently affects the surrounding residential streets. The upside is many of the new residents in these housing developments are transplanted young families and working professionals who live, eat, work and shop here, consistently reinvesting in the borough. It is my goal to find the balance between the families who have been here and our new residents who are attracted to Lansdale’s mixed rural/urban vibe and community life. I believe it is possible to both continue to increase the walkability of the borough and find creative solutions to access parking. It is extremely important to me to protect what open spaces we have left and that we continue to invest in our parks and recreation system. I do believe there is such a thing as sustainable, intelligent growth as I have witnessed it in townships and cities across the county, and it is my goal to use this knowledge and experience to help Lansdale find this balance.
Overall I wish to increase accessibility to local government and include all voices to find balance between our interests. At doors I hear calls for unity from all sides of the political spectrum, but we seem to be at a loss when it comes to compromise on actionable items. We can all agree we hate the weeds on Main Street. So what’s the next step? I am running for borough council to find out for you. I will help translate the five hour meetings that exhausted working parents don’t have the time or mental bandwidth to digest. I will make it my job to open the lines of communication of borough politics for you, be transparent about the limitations of what the borough can’t and can do for us, and most importantly, bring our concerns to the council so we can facilitate compromise and find innovative, real-world solutions to make Lansdale an incredible place to live all of our families.
Out knocking doors rain, shine,
sleet or snow!
Like all of our wards, Lansdale's First Ward consists of three distinct precincts.
A Clear Vision for the Future
What can we do to promote transparency and inclusivity? How do we build a better tomorrow without leaving anyone behind? What role does small government play in regulating or promoting the general welfare of the community and our planet? As a community organizer, these are questions I've often asked myself, and these are the questions I am seeking to answer for our borough residents.
Our Main Street has certainly come a long way, and it certainly has a long way to go yet. While we have multiple new and incredibly diverse businesses, it's not a hidden fact that there are parts of Main Street overrun with both weeds and vacancies. Although nothing will solve this issue overnight, possible solutions include the establishment of a Business Improvement District which could help regenerate businesses, improve sales for local retailers, and ultimately decrease the rate of commercial turnover and vacancies on Main Street. Surrounding municipalities such as Ambler have already implemented incredibly successful BID organizations (just check out amblermainstreet.org for yourself). Of course thorough research would have to be done to see if this is an attractive and sustainable idea for our borough. Ultimately our business owners and residents would need to be in clear communication on the level of commitment involved. If interest for a BID were to occur, I would be happy to facilitate these conversations and research as our ward representative. Another innovative solution and one you will find in the Mayoral Musings is the concept of hiring a borough manager who would oversee main street itself, much like our current borough manager oversees the entire borough. This type of specification and dedication to our downtown district would ensure that we are not losing attractive restaurant and retail bids to surrounding municipalities and would give space for Main Street to become its very own attractive brand. As far as shopping centers are concerned, the borough and The Pavilion shopping center have recently done a great job attracting businesses and keeping shop real estate full, and are even welcoming a discount grocery store coming potentially next year. Less lackluster is the Hillcrest shopping center whose largest real estate vacancy has rotated from Clemens to Super Fresh to Rebounderz to nothing. Gone are the days of Ames, and (we-hardly-knew-yee) Prism. Although little can be done to influence private real-estate investors who own the land and set the rents, I believe we can seek creative solutions to help attract businesses, whether it be through rebate programs, such as our borough's current electrical rebate incentive, seeking to discourage vacancies through implementations of fines or other ordinances, or continuing in this council's vein of cutting red tape to ensure our small business owners don't have to jump through hoops to set up shop here.
Come sit in a public works or code session sometime and you will undoubtedly get a lengthy lesson in the engineering of new pavement viscosity regulations. I intend to help translate what one might find a dull and lengthy meeting into meaningful and digestible information. As a resident I have had many complaints about the roads myself and have advocated for repairs in my ward which alerted State Rep Steve Malagari to acquire grant funding to repair our stormwater system on Laurel Lane. Thankfully, many solutions are already underway as we have begun to take a serious look at our infrastructure utilizing revolutionary Global Information Systems data mapping and accessing grant funding at both the state and federal level. Our Borough Manager, Director of Community Development, and engineers have done an incredible job of mapping out a solid plan to not only fix current issues, but to apply rigorous rotational maintenance program to slow and prevent future deterioration. While knocking doors I will continue to take a first-hand inventory of any infrastructure or code issues or complaints from residents and report these findings back to the borough to help facilitate appropriate solutions.
I think we can all agree, Lansdale's Parks and Rec facilities have come a long way. Our current council and specifically my running-mate and fellow Ward Representative Mary Fuller have done an incredible job investing in fun, thoughtful and innovative features that our families can enjoy in all seasons. What I wouldn't have given for a skatepark when I was 14! Again, behind the scenes one might be shocked to hear that the realization of just this one project took essentially a decade to plan and implement. I intend to bring the same level of planning and dedication to council when it comes to seeing projects through and will seek to find and utilize grant funding at the state and federal level such as the funding we were able to acquire for the major renovation of Whites Road Park's streambeds and ADA accessible playground. I intend to work closely with the current committee to see what solutions we can find to continue to keep our parks clean and partner with organizations such as Discover Lansdale who are bringing First Fridays, Car Shows, Founder's Day, Mardi Gras and so many more activities which not only draw outside visitors and revenue, but draw our community and families together as well.
Thanks to Lansdale's fortunate situation of owning Lansdale Electric and its corresponding infrastructure, we are in a unique position to create a sustainable renewable energy program that would not only help the planet, but would generate income for the borough as well. Current reports and extensive local analysis from the borough's energy consultant project up to 40% of the borough's energy could be generated through solar panels alone! To this point, it is incredibly important that we not only prevent privatization of our local utility infrastructure, but that we continue to take ownership of it and invest in it. Our current borough, council and mayor have have done an incredible job in putting forward real actionable solutions to establish our green energy program, and I look forward to joining them in this push for local solutions to climate sustainability.
"Rachael is the kind of leader we need on Council. She wants to help Lansdale achieve its fullest potential with a thriving business community, safe neighborhoods and a strong parks and recreation system. Rachael has a clear vision for what Lansdale can be and deserves our vote."
State Representative Steve Malagari
"As Mayor and as a resident of Ward 1 I am proud to endorse Rachael Bollens for Lansdale Borough Council. Over the last several years Rachael has been dedicated to helping build and re-build our community by lending her support to community events, infrastructure improvements, and the continued growth of our Lansdale Police Department. Rachael will make a great addition to our Borough Council and I look forward to working closely with her in the future."