MSAA General Membership Meeting, DDA 101, Thursday, October 3, 8am, Conor O’Neill’s

DDA 101 with DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay

Learn more about your Downtown Development Authority.

How is the DDA funded?

What is the mission of the DDA?

What are some of the most important projects undertaken by the DDA in the past 5 years?

How does the DDA prioritize projects?

What are the top three priorities of the DDA over next three years?

Conor O’Neill’s will once again be graciously hosting our morning meeting. Please come and enjoy a cup of coffee and an scone with your friends and neighbors.

October 3, 2013

Those present: Tom Murray and Caroline Kaganov Conor O’Neill’s; Carl Ent, and Rhonda Foxworth, Bank of Ann Arbor; Nancy Shore, GetDowntown; Chris Dempsey, Academy of Early Music; Alan Freedman, Four Directions; Gretchen Adraeie and Nanci Jenkins, Cherry Republic; Pippa Creffield, Abracadabra; Tim Berry, Ann Arbor State Bank; Amy Farnum, Ann Arbor Art Center; Lisa Dorwin, Comerica; Susan Pollay, DDA; Trevor Step, Running Fit; Elmo Morales, Elmo’s Main Street T-Shirts; Rebecca Konieczny, Busy Hands; Ron Stevens, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center; Ilene Tyler, Quinn Evan’s Architects; Noah Goldsmith, The Wafel Shop; Doug Martelle, AAPD; Angela Pierro, Zero Gravity; Mark Passerini, OM of Medicine; Colleen Tersey, Verizon Wireless; Maureen Hawley, La Belle Maison; Rob Boonin, Butzel Long; Brad Moore, J. Bradley Moore and Associates Architects, Inc.; Stacy Meitzner and Judy Comstock, Republic Parking; Kevin Pearson, Today Clothing; Al McWilliams, Quack Media; Jessica Wade Johnston, Falling Water; Curtis and Liz Sullivan, Vault of Midnight; Tim Berry, Ann Arbor State Bank; Sarah Miller AAACVB; Pippa Creffield, Abracadabra; Elizabeth Cain Toth, Arbor Brewing Company; Elin Walters, Vie Fitness and Spa; Harry Cohen, Black Pearl; Sabra Briere, City Council.

President, Tom Murray starts meeting with Introductions

Susan Pollay, DDA Executive Director – DDA Update
The goal today is to give an over view of the DDA and what it does. In the 70s and 80s downtowns were struggling with all the strip malls and shopping centers going up. The DDA was created as a tool to revitalize and find new purpose in our downtown. Its mission is to undertake public improvements that have the greatest impact in strengthening the downtown area and attracting new private investments. Projects have included Library Lane, Fifth and Division improvements, the connecting William St. plan, and the First and Washington St. parking structures. Other smaller things they have done include; holiday lights, sidewalk repairs, Go Passes, signage, and anti-graffiti campaigns.

Money to fund these projects comes from a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) mechanism. The questions now being raised by City Council are centered around whether the percentage the DDA gets from the TIF should be changed. There is an assumption that the DDA gets all the taxes revenue, but the reality is that they get 17% of the tax whole.

Some ideas for future projects include: South University improvements, elevators at the Fourth and William parking structure, East and West Washington St. improvements, North Fifth Avenue brick street repairs, wrapping traffic signal boxes with vinyl wraps (designed by local artists), a comprehensive loading zone review, and looking into potential new offices and residential space. If you are interested in providing the DDA with other suggestions come to a DDA Board meeting or contact the DDA and they will come to your business to discuss your ideas.

Question to Susan: Who will replace the dead and dying trees in the downtown? Susan explains that the City will be taking care of the dying trees on Fourth Avenue. The DDA did expand the tree pits on Fourth and is planning on doing the same this year on Liberty. Additionally, they plan on installing a dozen trees on liberty in front of Grizzly Peak and Hooper Hathaway.

Question: How does the DDA work with the BIZ? Susan explains that the DDA supported the BIZ with a grant to get started, they offered them Board Meeting space, and they support them at every chance that they can. The DDA is hoping the BIZ comes up with an expansion plan.

Question: Is Main St. still on the docket for being repaved? Susan explains that the DDA proposed to the City they put the project on hold because the economy has been fragile and they are unsure the affect it would have on businesses to close Main St. during this fragile time. However, let Susan know if you as a business owner would like to see the repaving of Main St. to be put back on the priority list for the City. Sabra Briere, City Council member, states that the Planning Commission decides capital improvement plans, contact her if you would like to give your opinion when to start Main St. resurfacing.

Brad Moore, J. Bradley Moore Associates and Architects – New Projects on E. Liberty and S. Fourth
Currently, we are in the process of two projects. The first is where Running Fit is located. We plan on restoring the height of the building, putting residential units on top of the existing retail space. The building will be reclad in brick and will hold six apartments; five, one bedroom and one, two bedroom apartment. Running fit will remain in its current location. We hope to start construction early next summer.

The other project is reconstructing the old Montgomery Ward Building, which was destroyed by fire in 1960. The first floor will be retail, halfway back from the front of the one story structure, two stories will be added, making it three stories half way back with residential units. Construction is hoped to be complete by 2015. Banditos will be remaining in its location.

Question to Brad: Will the alley way that runs through the block be blocked? Moore explains, that no, all construction staging will be on Fourth Ave.

Maura Thomson: Welcome to our three new members; Today Clothing, J. Bradley Moore Associates and Architects, and Literati Bookstore.

Congrats to the Sullivans for opening another Vault of Midnight in Grand Rapids

November 13, we will be doing a retail walk around. The goal of this event is for every business to be an ambassador to other Main Street Area merchants. Each of the businesses that have signed up will showcase their products and specials. We will be meeting at the Wafel shop at 6:30 a.m., starting the walk around at 7 a.m. Contact Maura if you would like to participate.

The Annual Treat Parade will be October 31, email if you would like to hand out candy and be put on our Treat Parade map.

Small Business Saturday is November 30. Get your marketing materials online:

Chris Dempsey: Friday, October 18 at 8PM The Academy of Early Music presents the Kreisler Trio, performing at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. They will be performing Mozart and Beethoven.

Mark Passerini: OM of Medicine will be holding a fundraiser for Sabra Briere October 12, $50 donation asked to attend.

Ann Arbor Art Center: Will be hosting a Cardboard Challenge 11-6pm, October 5. Come in and create something with cardboard.

Rebecca Konieczny: Busy Hands was broken into this past week. Someone sawed through our office wall and took a lot of money. Be cautious.

Nancy Shore: GetDowntown’s Go Passes will be expiring at the end of October, it’s time to renew! Go to to renew or to get GoPasses for your employees.

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