DDA’s ‘Front Porch Project’ aims to improve community’s quality of life

DDA to hold Mics and Mac event Aug. 7

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 30, 2019

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ROCHESTER — The Rochester Downtown Development Authority recently launched a new initiative called the Front Porch Project.

The initiative, according to DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow, aims to improve the quality of life for residents — focusing on wellness, community, people and place.  

“The downtown is sort of the front porch of our community. We’re the place you come to see your neighbors, where you make your special memories, where you live,” Trevarrow said.

Whether you live in Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township or beyond, DDA Chairman Mark Albrecht said people come to Rochester to visit the downtown.

“That’s our front porch. That’s our place to interact with everybody — you’re not on your cellphone. You’re not on your couch. You’re not behind your computer screen. You’re doing things downtown.”

To help support and further that idea, the DDA is debuting Mics and Mac, a crowdfunding event that Trevarrow said is designed to empower local kids ages 10-18 and enrich the Rochester community with their creative ideas.  

“Kids have great ideas,” Trevarrow said. “And to be able to encourage people to have that vision and unfiltered idea stream coming through here, I think that’s incredible. We’re really excited to see what the kids are going to be able to come up with.”

Over the last month, youths had the opportunity to submit ideas for programs, projects or other things they would like to produce that they believe would increase the quality of life for the residents of the greater Rochester area. Ten of those ideas have been selected, and those youths have been invited to give a five-minute pitch presentation during Rochester’s first Mics and Mac event 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the Rochester Community House.

The community can purchase tickets to the event for $10 each, which includes a macaroni and cheese dinner, a dessert and a vote for their favorite pitch.

That evening, the winning pitch will receive $1,000 to bring an idea to life.

“Right now, the next generation that’s coming up, Generation Z, really wants something that’s theirs — they like ownership. They like personalization. They like being engaged in a different way than other generations,” Trevarrow explained. “We’re trying to find ways to engage those people now, because if they feel that ownership, that connection, they feel like this is their place, in the future, when they are making decisions about — after they go to college — where to open a business or find a place to live and raise a family or whatever, that Rochester is going to be the place that they think about.”

These days, Trevarrow said, a lot of downtown areas are finding out that once their youths go off to college and later begin their careers, they don’t necessarily come back to their hometowns.

“We’re trying to get that connection and ownership now, so those kids want to come back here,” she said.

Tickets to Mics and Mac are available online at downtown rochestermi.com or at the Rochester DDA office, 308 1/2 Main St. For more information, contact the Rochester DDA at (248) 656-0060.

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