The Imlay City DDA

"DDA" is an acronym for "Downtown Development Authority." The purpose of a DDA is to organize and facilitate investment into a town or city's downtown area. Most downtowns feature unique and privately owned small businesses, so a DDA is often closely associated with encouraging people to shop locally to support small business and local communities.

DDA Master Plan: 2014 - 2034

Strategic Plan Overview

In step with the Downtown Development Authority Board’s adoption of the Downtown Work Program and the Main Street Approach to Downtown Revitalization the Imlay City DDA has identified the following as objectives by which to gauge the direction of the DDA from 2014-2034.

The Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization is based on four points:

Organization- means building consensus and cooperation among the groups that play roles in the downtown. Many individuals and organizations in the community have a stake in the economic viability of the downtown, including:

  • Bankers
  • Property Owners
  • Public Officials
  • Merchants
  • Downtown Residents
  • Professionals
  • Chamber of Commerce Representatives
  • Local Industry
  • Civic Groups
  • Historical Society
  • Schools
  • Consumers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Local Media

 

Design- involves improving the downtown’s image by enhancing its physical appearance-not just the appearance of buildings, but also that of streetlights, window displays, parking areas, signs, sidewalks, promotional materials and all other elements that convey a visual message about the downtown and what it has to offer.

Promotion- involves marketing the downtown’s unique characteristics to shoppers, investors, new businesses, tourists and others. Effective promotion creates a positive image of the downtown through retail promotional activity, special events and ongoing programs to build positive perceptions of the district.

Economic Restructuring- means strengthening the existing economic base of the downtown while diversifying it. Economic Restructuring activities include helping existing downtown businesses expand, recruiting new businesses to provide a balanced mix, converting unused space into productive property and sharpening the competitiveness of downtown merchants. By strengthening the downtown’s economy, communities are able to support the ongoing use of historic buildings, preserving unique community assets.

DDA Financials

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2018 19 DDA Budget

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Annual Audit 2017 18

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Annual Filing 17-18

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Annual Filing 16-17

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DDA Projects 2017-18

DDA Projects and Investments 2017-2018
The following is a list of the Imlay City DDA's accomplishments, projects, investments, and events for the fiscal year 2017-18.  Items on this list are goals and objectives found in the Imlay City DDA's Tax Increment Finance Plan of 2014.

Public Improvement-

Below is a list of improvements and investments the DDA supported in 2017-18

  • Installation of Cobra Lights
    • Main Street and Depot Drive
    • $1,100, Industrial Parkway and Folk Court
  • $23,000 for LED conversion of lights on  lampposts within traditional downtown
  • $30,000 in Streetscape expenses including:
    • Landscaping on Third Street, Depot Drive, Almont Avenue, and Wayfinding Signs
    • 33 new American Flags on lampposts found in downtown
    • Holiday lights
    • Manage the brick and bench program
  • $1,200 to install three new benches placed in Rotary Park.
  • $2,275 lawn maintenance in public areas within downtown
  • $30,000 in electricity within the district
  • Art in Action Initiative. Six artists created over 20 pieces of public art work.
  • The DDA secured a $1,500 grant through the I-69 Region's First Impressions Program.  The DDA began work on an art and history walking tour using the funds from I-69 Region and with grant funds from Lapeer County Community Foundation and Four County Community Foundation (totaling $4,000).  The project is ongoing and is expected to be completed in January of 2019.
Promotions/Marketing Collectively, the following events brought over 4,000 visitors to downtown in 2017-18.  These promotional events are ongoing.
  • Weekly Farmers Market
  • Weekly Summer Concert Series
  • Winter Playground
  • Art in the Rough
  • Pop Up in the Park
  • Busker Parade

 

  • The DDA secured a $1,000 grant through the I-69 region to update the City and DDA websites.  Work was completed in September of 2018.

Collaboration- The DDA works closely with the following organizations.

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Imlay City Rotary Club
  • City of Imlay City & Departments
  • Heritage Church
  • Greater Flint Arts Council
  • Lapeer Art Association
  • Ruth Hughes Library
  • Lapeer Development Corporation
  • Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Imlay City Schools
  • Lapeer County FFA

Business Recruitment & Retention-

The following is a list of DDA investments and initiatives for 2017-18

  • $6,250 investment to the Lapeer Development Corporation.
  • Initiated incubator space @150 Pop.  The space was occupied in October of 2017 by a bookstore and in June of 2018, an embroidery store opened its doors and committed to a six-month Pop Up agreement.
  • Assisted four new businesses to located within the district.
  • $12,000 in facade grant funds allocated to district businesses

Real Estate

The following is a list of DDA investments and initiatives for 2017-18

  • Initiated incubator space @150 Pop.  The space was occupied in October of 2017 by a bookstore and in June of 2018, an embroidery store opened its doors and committed to a six-month Pop Up agreement.
  • Maintain 'Available Property' listing on Imlay City SEED website

 

At the end of the fiscal year 2017-18, the DDA had a fund balance of $160,000.  As the 2014 TIF plan indicates, the DDA anticipates assisting the City of Imlay City with future infrastructure projects that include:  M-53 road improvements, viaduct improvements, and upgrades to utilities and infrastructure on Fourth Street.  The projects, costs and timelines are included in the City's Capital Improvement Plan which is available for viewing at the City office, 150 North Main Street.

DDA Contracts 18-19

DDA Contracts and Management Services
In compliance with Public Act 57 and the DDA’s desire to be transparent with the community, a listing of current contracts and management services provided to the DDA are available for public review at the City of Imlay City office, 150 North Main Street, Imlay City, MI 48444.
FineLine Landscape
Downtown Maintenance
Aqua Turf Irrigation
Downtown Irrigation Services

DDA's and TIF:

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What is a DDA?

"DDA" is an acronym for "Downtown Development Authority." The purpose of a DDA is to organize and facilitate investment into a town or city's downtown area. Most downtowns feature unique and privately owned small businesses, so a DDA is often closely associated with encouraging people to shop locally to support small business and local communities. 

Where did DDAs come from?

DDAs in Michigan largely began as a result of a law enacted in the late 1970s by the Michigan congress called PA 197. DDAs were created to counteract the decline of downtown areas after World War II that was caused by increased patronage of malls and shopping centers instead of local business. Because of this shift in shopping habits, downtown businesses often went bankrupt, buildings fell into disrepair and became chronically vacant and dilapidated. 

How does a DDA aim to counter this trend?

A DDA's main ability is to invest money and management expertise into downtown districts. Utilizing DDA resources, city planners and downtown managers rebuild public spaces, invest in business and public works projects, and help with advertising and marketing. All of this is designed to encourage people, both local and visiting, to favor a downtown district over a shopping center because of the downtown's uniqueness and specialized businesses. 

How does a DDA work?

To put it simply, a DDA comprehensively manages a downtown district to maximize its local economy. This can mean a variety of things, and what each DDA does is often dependent on the particular details of the corresponding downtown district. However, there are several categories of activity that most DDAs across the state, ours included, fall under:
 
  • Infrastructure improvements - DDAs often fund and enact projects designed to repair or improve streets, sidewalks, lighting, and sewer and water lines throughout the downtown district. Our DDA has most recently performed some revitalization along Almont Ave and 1st St. 
  • Design of public parks - Often it falls under the DDAs purview to design and construct new public gathering spaces and parks within the downtown district. If you have a public park or gathering place in your downtown, chances are high your DDA is responsible for its creation and maintenance. In Imlay City, this is most evident in the form of Rotary Park.
  • Revitalization of vacant/underused properties - Going hand-in-hand with the prior bullet point, a DDA is tasked with finding creative ways to maximize use of often limited downtown space, and it does this by always looking for new uses for old areas. If a building can be revitalized and refurbished in order to house a new downtown business, the DDA will attempt to do so, and if a building would be better as a park, well, the DDA will do that as well. 
  • Rehabilitation of historic buildings and facades - Most people agree that one of the biggest draws of a downtown district is its historic charms, and the DDA works tirelessly to preserve and maintain that historic feel by enacting programs designed to encourage business owners and property owners to bring out that charm. The Imlay City DDA grants over $13,000 in facade grants each year to help business owners ensure their business is attractive to passersby looking for that downtown charm.
  • Business recruitment and retention programs - A downtown isn't much without interesting and unique businesses to populate it, and as a result it is often one of a DDA's primary goals to attract new businesses to open in their downtown district, as well as keep existing businesses open and happy. There are a number of tools to do this, and as an example, the Imlay City DDA hosts job fairs and performs retention calls with established businesses. 
  • Marketing and promotions - Every DDA in the state, and probably the country, uses its resources to in some way promote the downtown district businesses and events. There isn't much use in revitalizing a downtown district if no one knows the district is even there, so a DDA spends a considerable amount of time marketing the businesses and events in the downtown district in all forms of media possible, from social media, newspapers, flyers, and radio/television. In addition to marketing these events, it's often the DDA's responsibility to plan and put on the events as well, and the Imlay City DDA is directly involved in several weekly and annual events in our downtown, like the Farmers' Market, the Summer Concert/Movie Series in Lamb Steele Park, Buy Local Campaigns, and others. 

How are DDAs funded?

Since the establishment of PA 197 way back in 1975, the State of Michigan has enabled DDAs to utilize Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, to acquire the funds needed to reinvest in downtown districts and finance all the projects detailed above.

What is TIF?

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is the annual capture of the year-to-year growth in property values in a defined downtown district. The power of TIF is that it allows municipalities to direct funds to engage in specific, critical economic development activities without needing to raise local property taxes. So, in essence, as a DDA works to improve the downtown district, property values will rise as a result of that hard work, and as the property values rise, the amount captured via TIF will also increase, providing the DDA with more funds to use to aid the downtown district. DDAs that use TIF are self-sustaining, because as a DDA invests in its district, property values increase, and as they do, the DDA captures more funding and is able to do more projects. 
 
Do you still have questions that weren't answered here? Feel free to contact your Imlay City DDA for more information. We're happy to answer any questions you might have.