Strategic Plan Tasks Outlined for Downtown Development Authority

Members of the DDA, pledging to uphold their responsibilities are from left to right: John Debault, Ken Schippers (partially hidden), Steve McCowen, Clint Powell, Tanya DeLong (partially hidden), Bill Adams, Mike Oswalt, Laura Howard, Tracy Locey, administering the oath, and Mary Marshall.

By Sue Moore

With the Vicksburg Downtown Development Authority (DDA) having completed most of its strategic planning sessions, Director Kathy Hoyle is launching into the next phase of organization.

At the May board meeting, she reviewed the status of each task:

  • Funding for the façade program looks like it is coming together.
  • DDA boundary changes are progressing with nine different governmental units affected by any changes. Each unit will need to be consulted before anything can be approved.
  • Right now, the boundaries are inconsistent with one side of a street included and the other side not.
  • Including a larger DDA district would increase the revenues for the DDA.
  • A packet for companies looking to locate in Vicksburg is being prepared.
  • A request for proposal (RFP) for website development has been issued to four companies.
  • A recognized logo and color scheme for downtown are being developed.
  • Grants are being researched that would benefit the downtown.

DDA treasurer, Amy Miller, promised the board that a new, easier to read, financial report would be ready for review by the June or July meeting. She and her committee are continuing to examine the paperwork from the previous DDA transactions.

Signage for the downtown was discussed as to what the guidelines would be as part of Tanya DeLong’s committee. She presented the idea of making Main Street from Prairie to Washington Street, one way. This would add ten more parking spaces. This would entail blocking off the alley between Jaspare’s and Aaron’s Music Shop along with a stop sign at the corner of Main and Washington. Ken Schippers, interim village manager, reported that he was working with John Polasek’s students from Western Michigan University to see if this idea is feasible.

Keeping the village green has started with Mandy Miller at the Cutting Edge volunteering to be the drop off point for recyclables as she is already doing that for her business.

Cardboard recycling was also discussed and the cost of having a central point for this, since one business is now paying for its own recycling pickup and others are using it. What to do with cardboard is a big issue for some of the retail establishments.

The DDA meetings are held once a month on the third Wednesday at 8 a.m. in the Community Center. The public is welcome to attend.

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