2018-2019 was a special year for the Village of Howard City Downtown Development Authority (DDA). We were able to complete some major projects, have seen a new eagerness to re-energize our Downtown Development Areas, and we were able to participate in the celebration of the Sesquicentennial (150th) birthday of our Village.
During this fiscal year, the DDA was excited to complete the Shaw Street construction project. This project allowed the Village to widen Shaw Street to three lanes providing a smoother flow of traffic to the various businesses. This project also included a walking/bike trail to help ensure safer travel along Shaw Street. The DDA did secure a 15 year loan in 2017 for this project with payments of just under $100,000.00 a year.
The DDA was very happy to award four Facade Grants ($5,000 each) to Grass Roots Development, BC Pizza, PPK Ventures, and Mattson's Hardware. Each of these businesses had major facade upgrades (with over $125K in personal investment combined) to their buildings which greatly improved the overall curb appeal throughout the Village.
The DDA also facilitated the revitalization of the downtown area with flower baskets containing annual flowers that bloom all summer long keeping the downtown vibrant and colorful, all for $1,260. In keeping with the beautiful streetscape along Edgerton Street, the DDA hired a part-time worker, William Michael Nind, to maintain flower beds and refresh mulch. During the holidays, the DDA was proud to fund the pole decorations (totaling $3,776) making downtown feel festive and bright and getting everyone in the spirit of the season. Additionally, the DDA invested $5,000.00 in the celebration (downtown dances, parade, etc.) during the Village's sesquicentennial celebrations. The annual maintenance and upkeep is in support of the 20 year bond that was secured in 2011 with annual payments of just under $70,000.00
Last, but not least, the farmer's market was another success for the DDA. Many local vendors were present every Saturday from May-October selling home-grown, fresh produce. The market coordinators were able to advertise and promote the market throughout the year with the $700 provided by the DDA.