The Northern Lakes Economic Alliance and Networks Northwest teamed up to host a DDA Forum for the area on Thursday, January 26. Downtown leaders from East Jordan, Mackinaw City, Cheboygan, Kalkaska, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs, and Bellaire gathered to discuss current topics and what’s happening in their towns.
Community updates included:
- Cheboygan has been accepted to Associate level of the Main Street program.
- February 10 Cheboygan Opera House is hosting Steve Arwood (Michigan Economic Development Corporation President) presentation on Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC), Main Street, and Pure Michigan.
- East Jordan held a joint goal setting sessions with DDA, Planning Commission and City Council. One of their big accomplishments was bringing in fiber internet and downtown WiFi.
- Bellaire is in their 2nd year of DDA, finalizing development plan and getting TIF approved and are now moving into projects.
- Boyne City new Main Street director starts January 30.
- Mackinaw City is working on a plan for street upgrades along with infrastructure updates, and their Economic Development Corporation board has reignited.
- Kalkaska is involved with RRC and Associate with Main Street. They are using a Networks Northwest grant to establish a cooperative master plan with DDA, Parks and Rec, Library, and the county.
- Elk Rapids is focusing on Business Recruitment and Economic Development in downtown.
- The MEDC Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) grants for low to moderate income communities will be announced February 15.
- Harbor Springs is working on lighting and streetscape and a recreation plan has been completed with the hopes of getting DNR waterways money to develop a marina park and harbormaster building. There is also a multi-use trail being connected from Little Traverse Wheel way to downtown Harbor Springs
DDA Forums take place every other month except June, July, and August, and serve as a networking and idea sharing opportunity for local downtown leaders.