ESCANABA - Escanaba's Downtown Development Authority is mapping out the path to plan and pay for six projects the organization would like to see completed within a short time period.
Officials have prioritized a half dozen projects from its recent Downtown Development Plan. A basic "to do list", breaking down what tasks needs to be done to accomplish the goals, was presented during the regular DDA meeting Wednesday.
"This plan is designed to communicate the step-by-step process that will need to be followed for each project to ensure that all projects are completed within the time frame defined in the development plan," said DDA Director Judy Schroeder.
Jenny Lancour | Daily Press
Plans to design an indoor facility at Escanaba Farmer’s Market, is among a list of short-term priorities of the Downtown Development Authority.
One priority is the continuation of the DDA's facade program to improve business fronts. Depending on available monies, 12-16 applications will be accepted into next year's program, funded through a Community Development Block Grant and a 50 percent match from owners, explained Schroeder.
Creating a design for an indoor facility at the Farmer's Market is among the short-term projects. The building could include retail space, an indoor garden, and incubator space for developing new businesses. Grants would be sought to pay for the project, including engineering and construction. Tax increment financing could also be used.
Tax Increment Financing, also known as TIF, enables the DDA district to collect property tax revenue from increased assessed value of new investments downtown such as renovations or new construction. The collected taxes can be used for improvements to develop the DDA district.
TIF funds could help support a weather optimization program consisting of studies on individual buildings conducted by local professionals in the field. Funding could come from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Energy, TIF, and private sources.
A DDA project currently funded by the state is the application process for the downtown to be named on the National Register of Historic Places. The State Historic Preservation Office is seeking bids to conduct a study on Escanaba. TIF funds could be used to support the project, if necessary.
The DDA's "to do list" also calls for a new streetscape along Ludington Street from Stephenson Avenue to 6th Street. After receiving public input, a design concept would be selected, followed in the future by engineer work, bids, and construction to be funded through bonds and TIF monies.
TIF funds, as well as private matches, could be used for a plan to replace the infrastructure in the DDA district, a project that has been considered for years. The DDA has placed this among its short-term priorities as developers look to plan improvements in the near future and seek bids for engineering and construction in the upcoming years.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org