Gladstone DDA reviews achievements

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone City Commission heard a review of what the Gladstone Downtown Development Authority (DDA) achieved last year during the commission’s regular meeting Monday.

“On behalf of the Gladstone DDA board, (I’m) excited to be able to present the 2017 Calendar Year Downtown Development Authority Annual Report and to present you this year full of accomplishments,” DDA/EDC Coordinator Ron Miaso said.

One of the duties of the DDA is to handle facade grants for downtown businesses. Miaso said the impact made by one of these grants can be seen at the new Gladstone Square Pharmacy.

“After moving into their new location, the DDA board approved in March of 2017 a facade grant which improved the appearance of the building and tied in with the themes of other projects,” he said.

Miaso also spoke about major DDA-related developments over the past year. Among these was the continuation of progress on options for developing the North Shore Development Zone.

Last year, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, MSU School of Planning, Design, and Construction, and the DDA facilitated three public meetings for this project.

“After the end of 2017, at a joint city commission/DDA meeting, a recommendation was made to contract with an expert in these kinds of developments,” Miaso said.

Plans for U.P. State Bank’s Gladstone branch, which had its grand opening this summer, were also approved last year.

“I think everyone can agree that this is a very great development and really enhances this busy intersection,” Miaso said.

Additionally, the presentation featured information on some recent infrastructure-related developments in Gladstone — including the city’s 9th and 4th Street Project. According to Miaso, this initiative started when the DDA looked into the possibility of doing a relatively small-scale project to deal with issues with water in alleys behind Delta Avenue.

“When bonding was considered, the scope of the project increased to what is now known as the Ninth Street project,” Miaso said.

Other infrastructure projects the DDA got involved with last year included the South Court Extension and the relocation of a playground near OSF St. Francis’ Gladstone clinic. Both of these projects were fully funded through DDA funds.

Miaso said the DDA added and filled some positions last year, as well. These included the positions of farmers’ market coordinator, DDA/EDC coordinator, and Old Fashioned Christmas coordinator.

“All of these budgeted positions allow better control over DDA-specific projects and reduce strain on other city staff,” he said.

Miaso also discussed Gladstone’s farmers’ market, miscellaneous DDA projects, and the city’s annual Old Fashioned Christmas event during his presentation.

“This is truly a wonderful tradition,” he said on the last of these topics.