MSAA General Membership meeting, Thursday, October 2, 8am

Celtic Room, Conor O’Neill’s
318 S. Main Street


Nancy Shore, Program Director, getDowntown – Three new services at the AAATA that benefit downtown businesses.

Amanda Reel, Community Impact & Volunteer Center Manager, United Way of Washtenaw County – United Way’s exciting new volunteer center – where you can play music, plant a garden, create art, prepare a meal, organize an event or kick a ball around with kids…all for a good cause.

Susan Pollay, Executive Director, DDA – Updates on ongoing projects and proposed projects.

October 2, 2014

Those present: Tom Murray and Caroline Kaganov, Conor O’Neill’s; Amy Cameron, Ithaka; Ron Stevens, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center; Sarah Miller, AAACVB; Fran Stacey, Butzel Long; Amanda Reel, United Way of Washtenaw County; Mark Passerini, Om of Medicine; Lisa Dorwin, Comerica Bank; Rhonda Foxworth, Plaid Fox Marketing; Susan Pollay, DDA; Nancy Shore, GetDowntown; Doug Martelle, Ann Arbor Police Dept.; Elin Walters, Vie Fitness and Spa; Pippa Creffield, Abracadabra, Eman Tillani, Gratzi; Alan Freedman, Four Directions; Ryan Gillies, Logan; Derek Branny, Republic Parking; Sabre Briere, City Council; Gretchen Adracie, Cherry Republic; Noah Goldsmith, The Wafel Shop; Cyndi Clark, Lily Grace; Angela Pierro, Zero Gravity.

President, Tom Murray starts meeting with introductions

Nancy Shore, Get Downtown Program: Three New Services at the AAATA
There are three new services that AAATA will be offering, with the passing of the recent millage, that benefit downtown. First, they will be (and are) offering later bus service, one hour later, until 11PM. Second, there will be more Saturday service. Third, there will be a new route linking the Whittaker Road area.

Some of these benefits started this last August, enhancing service by 40%. Improvements will continue as part of the five year plan. We encourage you to put AAATA’s TheRide Your Way website link on your business’ home page. The improved system gives visitors and employees more opportunity to get downtown and to you.

Other things to note for your business include; TheRide’s new tracking app to monitor if you bus is on time, if your business purchases more than 20 GoPasses you need to take a half our class (receiving a Sweetwater Coffee and Tea gift certificate for completing), and the garages have discounted monthly parking for evening employees ($30 a month).

Amanda Reel, Community Impact & Volunteer Center Manager, United Way of Washtenaw County: New Volunteer Center
The United Way of Washtenaw County has launched a new volunteer center website, It contains the largest listing of volunteer needs in Washtenaw County. This is great for businesses looking for team building volunteer opportunities for employees. You can match your needs with opportunities for your group/employees. The website is organized by categories and a number of available filters. If you need any help navigating the website or would like assistance in your search, contact Amanda.

Susan Pollay, Executive Director, DDA: Updates on Ongoing and Proposed Projects
The mission of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is to undertake public improvements that have the greatest impact in strengthening the downtown area and attracting new private investments (and reinvestments). The DDA has worked to meet their mission in a number of ways including creating affordable housing downtown, stabilizing the City’s parking system, providing support to the getDowntown program, encouraging mixed-use developments, and improving the pedestrian experience.

This past summer they worked on fixing elements of downtown including; sidewalk repairs, anti-graffiti efforts, bike parking, parking lots, and tree installations (140 more this fall). Additionally, the DDA did data gathering for examining socio-economic and market trends. They worked on formulating a street framework plan to make sense of what we are being challenged by and for a reference for the City when doing work downtown (for example, when resurfacing streets where to put the curve). The DDA also supported the Brownfield Grant Program, by matching awards from the program for any streetscape enhancement (as seen with YMCA), and established the Partnerships Grant Program, approving a grant for streetscape and utility improvements for a new hotel development.

For 2015 the DDA will focus on improving the Fourth and William parking structure. The parking structure was built in the 1950s and needs major renovations for practicality and to meet current standards and codes. They plan on installing new larger and faster elevators, replacing the risers (which are currently to tall causing people to trip), installing a new lobby, refreshing outside signage, and expanding the amount of energy in the garage for electric cars. Additionally, they are looking into what else they can do to make the space more friendly. Some ideas include; adding outdoor awnings and heaters, creating an open space inside for small shops, and adding public restrooms. If you have ideas please reach out to Susan at the DDA and let her know.

Additionally for 2015 the DDA is looking into beginning an Ambassador Program. They would contract a company to have people on our streets who would be both informational to visitors and eyes on the street, reporting nuisances and needed maintenance. Susan explains that a simple solution would not be to give money to the City to reinstate our beat cops. The City has a list of priorities that changes, so it could not be guaranteed that the money would go to the beat cops.

November 6 will be the next MSAA general membership meeting. The Retail Showcase walk around will be November 12th. The walk around is intended for you to educate your staff about what other retailers are selling so we can keep shoppers local. If you are interested in participating sign up with Maura.

There is fundraiser for the Art Center, Art and Brew tonight. Tickets are still available.

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