MSAA Annual Membership Meeting, Thursday, February 5, 2015

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

MSAA Board of Director renewals and vote

Affordable Housing Needs Assessment – Stephen Wade, Washtenaw County Office of Community & Economic Development

Update on discussions of Downtown Ambassador Program – Susan Pollay, Downtown Development Authority

February 5th, 2015

Those present: Tom Murray and Caroline Kaganov, Conor O’Neills; Sarah Miller, AAACVB; Ron Stevens, Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center; Eman Tillawi, Gratzi; Susan Edwards, First Merit Bank; Rhonda Foxworth, Plaid Fox Marketing; Kelly Vore, Downtown Home and Garden; Susan Pollay, Downtown Development Authority; Pippa Creffield, Abracadabra; Trevor Step, Running Fit; Elmo Morales, Elmo’s Main Street T-Shirts; Judy Comstock, Republic Parking; Ryan Gillies, Logan; Amy Cameron, Ithaka; Sabra Briere and Jane Lumm, City Council; Curtis Sullivan and Nick, Vault of Midnight; Andrea Klein, Verizon Wireless; Nancy Shore, Get Downtown; Lisa Dorwin, Comerica Bank; Carol Lopez and Kelley Rubelman, The Peaceable Kingdom

Tom Murray, President of MSAA
Greetings and Introductions

Ron Stevens, Chair of MSAA Nominations Committee
February is the MSAA Annual meeting where new or renewing Board of Directors are voted on by the membership. Mr. Stevens presents the following:

MSAA Bylaws state that the term of each Director position begins in February and lasts for three years, no term limits are applicable.
The following four Directors’ terms expire at the end of January, 2015:
1. Alan Freedman
2. Sarah Miller
3. Tom Murray
4. Angela Pierro

Three of the four Directors with expiring terms elect to renew their term.
The slate to be presented to the MSAA general membership at the February 2015 MSAA Annual Meeting for election to the Board of Directors for terms expiring at the end of January 2018 is as follows:
1. Alan Freedman
2. Sarah Miller
3. Tom Murray
4. Ed Shaffran

Membership votes in favor of this slate.

Mr. Stevens also announces that Pippa Creffield of Abracadabra will be replacing Jessica Johnston of Falling Water’s position on the MSAA Board.

Steven Wade, Washtenaw County Office of Community & Economic Development – Housing Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis
Report on Affordable Housing in the Ann Arbor area. The western region of Ann Arbor is currently seeing high demand and increasing prices, making the area unaffordable to many people. The eastern region of the city, including the Ypsilanti area, has more supply, less demand and a weaker economy, leading to lower prices. This disparity leads to a concentration of poverty which impedes regional growth due to high crime rates, poor health and other contributing factors. The report proposes rebalancing this discrepancy by adding almost 3,000 new affordable housing units west of Highway 23 by 2035. Communities need to evaluate zoning, land use and funding to increase affordable housing options. The analysis also includes setting goals and targets for regional communities and adopting policies and procedures to help achieve those goals.

A member appealed to business owners to support local housing initiatives, in order support their employees who may not be able to afford housing in the area. Also discussed was the perception of affordable housing and the negative connotations that are associated with it, and how this may effect public opinion for affordable housing initiatives.

Susan Pollay, Executive Director, Downtown Development Authority – Downtown Ambassador Program
Ms. Pollay reported that the DDA became interested in investigating an ambassador program after visiting Grand Rapids, which operates such a program. Usually funded by a BID/BIZ or, more recently, DDAs, the program can have a variety of functions, such as cleaning or hospitality, which are decided on by the community. The DDA interviewed two national companies, and at the December board meeting set aside funding for such a program. Since then the DDA has received a large amount of feedback regarding the program. The DDA board wants to better understand these concerns before moving forward, as well as detail the exact roles and functions the downtown ambassador program would perform.

Also discussed was the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program (CTA) being implemented by the AAACVB, in which the frontline staff of local businesses can take a ½ day class for a minimal fee, to learn about the area and events. This is a county-wide program, whereas the DDA’s ambassador program would be Ann Arbor specific. The CTA program is scheduled to roll out in April. Again, these programs are unrelated.

To keep the community involved on the progress of the Downtown Ambassador Program, Maura will pass on updates from the DDA directly to MSAA members through email. All DDA board meeting agendas are made public on their website. Ms. Pollay says the Ann Arbor News is also a good resource for information.

Mr. Murray addressed former discussions with the DDA regarding the possibility of funding a marketing campaign to promote all of downtown Ann Arbor.

The CVB has been working with the DDA to find space for a visitor’s center.

The DDA is committed to replacing the elevator and stairwell and the Fourth and William parking structure. Bids on the project have come in higher than anticipated, delaying the start of this project.

A retail meeting will be held Feb. 26th to plan for Ladies Night which will be held May 15th

The next membership meeting is a social meeting, to be held on March 5th at 5:30pm at Mezzovino

The Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5k run will be March 8th to raise money for Mott’s Children’s Hospital

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