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home : news : news August 20, 2014

7/3/2013 12:01:00 AM
DDA progress on downtown planning noted
Kate Bassett
Editor

The Downtown Development Authority in Harbor Springs continues to meet on a monthly basis with an overarching goal of long-term sustainability and vitality for downtown.

DDA Chair Rob Mossburg said the authority is "continuing to make progress" on the DDA plan, which includes hiring a director (part-time contracted position to start), following the "Four Points Main Street Program" to open up funding avenues for projects via the Michigan Economic Development Council, and working on business recruitment and retention.

He said the DDA has already seen the implementation a private entrepreneurial business incubator in town (Coolhouse Labs) and added information on downtown development to the City's website.

"We are also implementing a wayfinding plan for downtown Harbor Springs and developing a Waterfront Enhancement project," Mossburg said. "These are priorities selected by the DDA after review and consideration of the Wade Trim Downtown Vision Plan."

The plan Mossburg referred to came from a massive community-wide information gathering that took place in Harbor Springs last summer. Wade Trim consultants were on-hand for a week of brainstorming and discussion sessions, as well as physical, commercial, and residential inventories that resulted in a nearly 100-page plan of action for Harbor Springs.

Likely the most visible work of the DDA in the near future will be hiring a downtown director to help guide the mission of the authority, and to help with downtown-related events/opportunities.

"As soon as funding is secured for a director, the position will be advertised," said Tom Richards, Harbor Springs city manager. "The DDA is moving forward on many fronts, to respond to the 'vision' provided by our community and consultants."

While not all of the suggestions provided in the Wade Trim report were met with great fanfare, the DDA has latched on to several of the ideas, including a redesign of the waterfront.

While City Council recently voted down a motion to accept a bid to remove the waterfront tennis courts-- which has been the center of much of the waterfront renovation discussions-- a design committee is continuing to move forward with possible renderings for what the city's waterfront could look like in the future.

The DDA also recently recommended City Council adopt a redevelopment district so that a redevelopment liquor license might be available for restaurants.

"This will provide new opportunities for dining and entertainment businesses to who would like to serve alcohol and enhance the nighttime business climate in Downtown Harbor Springs" Richards said.

The Downtown Development Authority meets monthly at Harbor Springs City Hall. Meeting schedules, as well as previous meeting minutes and the city's downtown vision plan can all be accessed on the City of Harbor Springs Website, under the DDA section. www.cityofharborsprings.com








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