Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Village Association will work with DDA

by Brad Lindberg Staff Writer

February 14, 2013

CITY OF GROSSE POINTE - The Downtown Development Authority's new marketing role for the Village is intended to boost the entire central commercial district, not broker individual properties.

Although the authority will hold the hands of business owners and agents, it will not carry their water.

“The landlord has the property,” said Councilman Chris Walsh, the City of Grosse Pointe council's representative on the DDA board. “We can't rent it for them. We can just try to provide the framework and environment that makes it a business-friendly place.”

“It's not our job to fill (vacant properties),” said City of Grosse Pointe Mayor Dale Scrace. “It's our job to assist however we can.”

A unanimous council this week expanded the DDA's mission to promote and market the Village.

The authority assumes the role from the Village Association, a volunteer group comprised of central business district owners, landlords, property managers and stakeholders.

“To keep the Village a vibrant place, we need to market the Village to the greater Detroit area,” said Peter Dame, city manager.

The DDA was established in 2008 to facilitate new construction projects. The original DDA plan didn't focus on marketing.

The Village Association, at that time, had been in operation for 50 years.

It was the primary marketing arm in the Village and had been “doing a very successful job for many years,” Dame said.

Association members requested the DDA take over marketing, Dame said.

“We fully support changes to the amendment,” said Mike Kramer, association president and Village merchant. “A lot has changed in 50 years. The retail industry has changed. This change will allow us to add an element of professionalism and sources we have never been able to generate as a voluntary organization to the marketing of special events in the Village.”

“The next step will be to hire a marketing consultant to do an overall marketing plan for the Village,” Dame said. “We anticipate hiring an event coordinator as an independent contractor paid by the DDA.”

The DDA is a quasi-governmental organization funded by capturing incremental increases in tax revenues from the district for use in the district.

The DDA operates “at no expense to the taxpayer, which is a pretty slick thing,” Walsh said.

The Village Association isn't going away.

“We will exist to support efforts of the DDA, particularly with regard to communication and information sharing of people in the Village,” Kramer said.

The association also becomes a dues-free group, he added.

“Everybody who is located in the Village will be a member,” he said. “From that, we think there will be a broader base of support and participation in our events.”

City officials earlier budgeted a $20,000 marketing plan for the Village.