New bylaws approved for Main Street Grosse Pointe DDA

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 11, 2020

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — Grosse Pointe City officials are moving forward with the tasks they need to accomplish as one of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Michigan Main Street communities.

During a July 20 Grosse Pointe City Council meeting via Zoom, the council voted unanimously in favor of new bylaws for the Grosse Pointe Village Downtown Development Authority, which has been renamed the Main Street Grosse Pointe DDA. City Manager and DDA Director Pete Dame said the Main Street Grosse Pointe DDA Board had already unanimously approved the new bylaws at its meeting July 13. Dame said the bylaws had been looked at closely by multiple city attorneys and City staffers, as well as Michigan Main Street officials.

“They’ve been reviewed in detail and debated in detail by the DDA,” Dame said.

The revised bylaws call for an 11-member DDA Board with eight members to be nominated by the board, appointed by the mayor and approved by City Council. Members will serve four-year terms starting on July 1 except for members of the first board, who will be appointed to staggered terms of one, two, three and four years.

As worded in the bylaws, “Not less than seven (7) of the members shall be persons who have an interest in property including business entities that own real estate or operate a business (or their respective designee) located in the Program Area.”

Other members are to include the mayor or the mayor’s designee, a council member to be appointed by the mayor and a Wayne County representative. The immediate past chair will serve as an ex officio member and will not vote. The city manager or a person designated by the city manager will attend meetings but will not serve in a voting capacity.

On June 17, Grosse Pointe City officials announced that the Village business district had been selected by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for its Michigan Main Street program. The City’s was one of only two downtowns chosen this year, the other being the North End neighborhood in Detroit. Becoming a Michigan Main Street means that the Village will get five years of technical aid from the MEDC, including guidance on how to attract new businesses and residents, add jobs, and revitalize the district.

Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak said Main Street has a proven methodology that revolves around promotion, design, economic vitality and organization.

“A good part of this is place-making and giving the district a personality,” she said.

The MEDC said it’s currently working with 23 other downtowns, in addition to the Village and the North End in Detroit. These include Boyne City, Charlevoix, Howell, Lapeer, Sault Ste. Marie and Wayne. To qualify, Tomkowiak said, a downtown needs to be at least 50 years old. Historical preservation is one of the aspects of Michigan Main Street, and Tomkowiak said that fits in well in the Grosse Pointes, where history is valued.

“Developing downtowns and commercial districts is essential in building a tax base, raising property values and putting people to work,” MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman said in a press release. “Programs like Michigan Main Street provide communities with the tools needed to create jobs, provide desirable places to live and build a sense of place for Michigan residents.”

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