TRAVERSE CITY — Continued discussion of expanding the Downtown Development Authority boundaries is scheduled for the board’s monthly meeting Jan. 17.
The discussion by the DDA board comes on the heels of a pair of public open houses held Jan. 6 to gather input on the subject.
According to a memo from DDA CEO Jean Derenzy, the “expansion of the DDA district will provide a tremendous benefit to the businesses along Lake Avenue and Eighth Street, as well as Traverse City.”
The North Boardman Lake Business Association approached the DDA and the city in 2018 to develop ideas for the corridor, including as a Health and Wellness destination. Inclusion in the DDA would come with a two-mill levy for each property owner, rolled back to 1.6772 mills by the Headlee Amendment.
Derenzy estimated 30 people attended two separate open houses on Jan. 6 and 11 filled out comments. Derenzy added the sessions provided the DDA with “a lot of discussion and feedback to take into consideration moving forward.”
Some of the written comments called for the DDA to survey all the property owners in the expanded district and let the majority decide. Derenzy said “Eighth Street property owners have always been engaged” and that continued at the open house.
“It shows that they’re interested,” she said, adding the majority of people want to explore expanding the DDA boundary “cautiously and optimistically.”
In his written comment form included in the DDA board packet, Dr. Sam P. Copeland, said he welcomes the “ongoing investment in our downtown and the new wellness corridor” proposed for Eighth Street.
“I strongly support its proposed millage for this purpose,” Copeland said in his comment form.
On his comment form, Ron Turek of Juniors Tire, said the DDA should send out a survey to “give everyone an opportunity to vote who will be charged the two mills.”
Derenzy said levying additional millage “is never an easy process.” Her memo says a letter was mailed to 199 property owners within the proposed expansion inviting them to the open house.
No action will be taken at the Jan. 17 meeting. In her memo, Derenzy said she “will be reviewing the proposed district boundaries with City staff and bring this item back for possible action” at the DDA board’s Feb. 21 meeting.
The boundary expansion will return to the DDA at its February meeting and would then proceed to the City Commission for a public hearing.
Following discussion of DDA district expansion, the next item on the CEO Report is the formation of a Development Area Citizens Council about the proposed extension of the Tax Increment Financing 97 district.
According to statutory rules, this council “must be established at least 90 days before a public hearing on the TIF Plan and extension” if the TIF district has more than 100 residents, a memo from Derenzy said. Seven people have applied for the DACC and appointment could be made by the City Commission at its Jan. 21 meeting.