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Categorized | City Hall Corner, News

The Resurgence of the Downtown Development Authority

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a government board composed of local business owners and citizens whose primary job is to work on improving the downtown area of the City. The older more walkable downtown areas of cities face an uphill battle compared to newer sections of cities that were planned with cars and driving as their focus. Back in the day, everyone lived within walking distance of the downtown so there was little thought given to wide roads or lots of convenient parking spots. So, the State allows for the creation of DDA’s, which are primarily funded by Tax Increment Financing (TIF’s).  

DDA’s use TIF money to reinvest in the downtown area following the DDA’s published development plans, which outline what the DDA will do with the TIF money.  This reinvestment helps to make the downtown more attractive and more useable and helps to promote a robust business climate in the downtown area. The best part of the DDA and the TIF is that it does NOT raise tax rates at all. The TIF is simply a reallocation of taxes that were already being paid and redirects a small portion of the taxes already paid to this reinvestment fund.  

The DDA’s development plan, which is available on the City’s website, details a number of projects to be accomplished by the DDA Board using TIF funds, including creating new parking areas, construction of parks, improving accessibility of the White Pine Trail to Main Street and the development of events to draw persons into the downtown area amongst other plans.

This year, the DDA focused on bringing a new parking area to the Heart of Cedar Springs park; improved parking signage at all municipal parking lots; new signage along the White Pine Trail; sponsoring the downtown flower-pot decorating contest; hanging flower pots and planting flowers along Main St.; and paying for the shoveling of snow off Main Street sidewalks throughout the winter.

If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns about the DDA or what projects it should focus on in the coming year, please attend a DDA meeting. The DDA will be holding informational meetings in October and November to discuss what the DDA does and what it plans to focus on in the future. Please attend if you want to learn more about the DDA or TIF. The next two DDA meetings are October 28 and November 4 at noon at City Hall.

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