TRAVERSE CITY — Preliminary results on the drinking culture in Traverse City are scheduled for presentation at Friday’s monthly meeting of the Downtown Development Authority.

The in-person meeting — the board’s first since February 2020 — begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Commission Chamber of the Governmental Center.

Elise Crafts, founder of Statecraft and head of the DDA’s Healthy Drinking Culture project, and Megan Motil, founder and principal of Parallel Solutions, will present preliminary findings to the board. The project began in 2019 and survived a pandemic pause.

The Healthy Drinking Culture project held several listening sessions and an online survey in March drew 1,130 responses.

“We got great response to it,” DDA CEO Jean Derenzy said. “We know there is a lot of interest in this and identifying policies accepting the microbrewery and craft beer components along with the great food we have here. It’s not saying ‘no.’

“It’s having a different approach to how we’re elevating and appreciating what we have here in the community. We have great wine and great craft beer components. It’s how can we identify that and all the great food we have as well and how are we putting all the pieces in place.”

“This isn’t about saying alcohol is bad or anything like that, this is about creating a healthy culture related to alcohol within the community,” Motil told the Record-Eagle for a March article on the subject.

But some negative behaviors associated with alcohol like unhealthy binge drinking, unruly crowds, property damage and drunken driving were also part of the survey.

Derenzy said the preliminary results and the development of future “policies and procedures” will be part of a final report in September.

Two other projects are also subjects of Friday morning’s DDA board meeting.

Derenzy will report Huntington Bank decided “they no longer wish to build/relocate a new bank branch in Lot G and that they have agreed to offer their parcel to the DDA for an outright purchase,” according to a memo in the meeting agenda. That move clears the way for the construction of the long-discussed Civic Square at 203 S. Union St.

Derenzy expects the purchase of the property for a public gathering space, currently a TCF bank branch, to close in October. Huntington Bancshares Inc. acquired TCF Financial Corporation in a deal that became official June 9.

“It’s really nice. We appreciate TCF’s cooperating and Huntington’s cooperation and the need for this for our community,” Derenzy said. “It really shows they are working with us and have been through the whole process.”

The DDA board is also expected to receive a monthly update on the East Front Street Project Update from Suzanne Schultz of Progressive AE.

“That way we know where we are and what the next steps might be right along with the community,” Derenzy said of the East Front Street project.

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