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April 24, 2013

DDA sponsorship program allows donors to ‘own’ a piece of downtown

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

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DDA sponsorship program allows donors to ‘own’ a piece of downtown
Rochester donors can now choose to sponsor four items — corner planters with four-season plantings, street benches, corner gardens at intersections and trees.

ROCHESTER — An expanded downtown streetscape sponsorship program offered by the city’s Downtown Development Authority will give Rochester donors even more chances to “own” a piece of downtown, according to DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow.

“Over the years, even before the Main Street Makeover, we’ve always had a lot of people calling and saying that they wanted to have something in memory of someone in Rochester. People have such affection for Rochester, specifically the downtown,” she said.

Before the Main Street Makeover, the city only allowed the public to sponsor benches, but with the new enhancements, donors can now choose from four items — corner planters with four-season plantings for $500, street benches for $1,000, corner gardens at intersections for $1,500, and trees for $2,000. All sponsorships include a commemorative plaque with a dedication of the donor’s choice, and the donations are tax-deductible.

“We wanted to price it at different levels that are accessible to individuals, to organizations, business and whoever might want to participate,” Trevarrow said.

All sponsorships are total amounts for a five-year term, with the exception of the tree sponsorships, which Trevarrow said are forever.

All items and locations are available on a first-come, first-served basis, she added.

“Right now, the trees seem to be the most popular, followed by the benches,” she said.

In the couple of weeks since the expanded program kicked off, Trevarrow said, a wide range of people have already stepped up to sponsor items, including individuals, businesses, organizations and even local schools.

Paul Haig, owner of Haig’s of Rochester, said he was happy to sponsor a tree downtown, adding that Rochester is a “phenomenal” community to live and work in.

“With everything that the city and the DDA and the state (have) done for us — they’ve given us a whole new road and a whole new look downtown — I’m very happy to donate and to help make this downtown a little better. … Anything I can do to make this downtown better, I’m willing to do it,” he said. “I think every one of us should do our part to enhance the community,” he said.

Trevarrow said the money raised through the program will keep the downtown “fresh and looking good.”

“It’s all going right back into the streetscape to help maintain the streetscape and keep everything fresh and clean,” she said. “We really have never had the opportunity to plant annuals. We’ve always had perennials, so we are going to do a lot of things with that.”

For more information, call (248) 656-0060 or email Kristi@DowntownRochesterMI.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.