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The Downtown Development Authority

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

Where the Planning Commission generally sets rules for businesses to follow, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a government-business partnership whose goal is the development of a more business and citizen friendly atmosphere in the downtown area. The DDA Board is composed primarily of downtown business owners but they work with City staff to do things that will benefit the downtown area. The DDA Board works similarly to the Chamber of Commerce but the DDA is in a better position to address certain things like new signage and new parking due to their close working relationship with the City government. The DDA primarily receives its funding from a thing called Tax Increment Financing, (which is complicated but the important thing is that it does not raise anybody’s taxes at all).  

In 2017, the Cedar Springs DDA was reformed and immediately began to be productive again with some minor modifications to their operating plan. Since their reformation, the DDA has put-up brand-new parking signs and other new signs welcoming people into the City on the White Pine Trail. They helped pay for some of the new street name signs that you see along Main St. and Muskegon. The DDA helped arrange for the new parking lot at Second and Maple St. and they were the ones responsible for all of the flowers along Main St. last year. The DDA members also put up the bicycle racks you see on the Main St. corners and they also help put on the Halloween trick or treating in the downtown. This past year, the DDA’s budget was just over $21,000 but they get a lot done with that money.

The DDA is already planning for future projects and they are working on new benches and garbage cans for Main St., new public art, new hanging flower baskets, more parking options, more/improved public bathrooms and sponsorship of some downtown events such as the upcoming summer concert series at the amphitheater and potentially a new bicycle race that would start and end in the Heart of Cedar Springs.

The DDA is a public body and the public is always welcome at any of their meetings.  Just like the Planning Commission and the City Council, their meetings are broadcast and recorded on Youtube for your viewing pleasure. Meetings are generally the fourth Monday of the month at City Hall.

If you have anything about local government operations that you would like to see addressed in a future edition of the City Hall Corner, please send me an e-mail at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org and I can try to answer that for you and anybody else who might be curious about that question.

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