DDA – From the Director – February 2nd, 2016
Excitement for Downtown Escanaba!
I am starting my third year as the Executive Director of the Escanaba DDA. My first two years have been very exciting for both the DDA and me personally. I have learned a lot over the last two years and will continue to get new experiences as I move forward towards the vision we all have for Downtown Escanaba.
We have had several great events held downtown that are truly Community Events. The Farmer’s Market, Ribfest/Krusin Klassics Fun Run, Rock the Dock Celebrations, Fourth of July Fireworks, Sidewalk Days, MarinaFest, OctoberFest, the Community Christmas Tree Lighting, the Black Friday on Tuesday fun, the Christmas Parade & the Pasty Drop are all can’t miss events downtown. We also have many civic events that focus on the arts at the Bonifas Fine Arts Center.
The DDA’s Facade Program is one of our foundation programs. I am very excited for the six businesses that will have construction starting in 2016. The projects will have a major impact on our Downtown. The projects will bring back some of the Historical Luster to our Buildings Downtown. The business owners will be making personal investment into their buildings, as well as grant monies from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The total investment into the Downtown Facade Program for the projects is $1.4 million dollars. We will be starting the next round of Facade Applications shortly.
Another project that will begin construction downtown in 2016 is the creation of the “Escanaba Market Place”. We will be able to provide a venue that is designed to add protection from the weather for events held at the site, while being able to have a structure we can use for many different events downtown. The project will help solve a few initiatives: 1) Enhances the Escanaba Farmer’s Market to be an event, 2) Is the starting point for some meaningful development that will allow Citizens and Visitors to experience some festival type of events Downtown, 3) Businesses and Citizen’s will have an option for celebrations, meetings or shows. The project will be at the corner of 15th Street and Ludington Street. Funding for the Market Place will be a combination grants and DDA funds totaling $1.1 million dollars.
March of 2014 we received news from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that Escanaba was chosen as one of 17 communities selected to participate in the “Redevelopment Ready Communities” program. 65 communities submitted applications to take part in the program, with Escanaba being the only Upper Peninsula community selected. The program is a no-cost opportunity to make the City more attractive for investment for New Business and Redevelopment. This will be accomplished by working with Business Redevelopment Experts that will help the City incorporate changes to meet criteria of the Program. The City of Escanaba is well on its way to being certified as a Redevelopment Ready Community. The revision of the city’s Master Plan is on the the key activities towards our goal. The program will be another tool to help make the city a place we are all proud to live, work & play.
I want to point out the great support team I have had since I joined the DDA. The relationship with the City of Escanaba, the Escanaba Downtown Business Partners, the DDA Board and the Delta County Chamber of Commerce is critical to the success of any plans for Downtown Escanaba. The individuals I have had a chance to work with are very committed, passionate & professional. They all share a vision to revitalize and re-develop the downtown area. I am very excited for the future of our downtown based on these relationships.
If you have any questions or comments please call me at 789-8696 or email me at email@example.com.