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Posted on Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

Ypsilanti DDA to move into Ypsilanti City Hall

By Tom Perkins

The Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority will soon move into the Ypsilanti City Hall.

Officials say the move will save the DDA money, bring slightly more revenue to the city and improve coordination between them.

Ypsilanti_DDA.jpg

The Ypsilanti DDA's current office space is at 32 N. Washington St.

The DDA is its own body that operates independently of the city, though both work closely together.

At its Sept. 3 meeting, City Council unanimously approved the DDA leasing 336 square feet that includes two offices and small conference rooms on city hall’s third floor. The DDA will pay $300 per month.

City Manager Ralph Lange said several council members had asked about the possibility of the DDA leasing the space.

“(The DDA) will save money and we get a little better coordination between the DDA and planning department, but they are still separate,” Lange said. “I think it’s a win-win and has been kind of a council goal.”

DDA Director Tim Colbeck said the DDA will save $3,500 in rent annually plus additional money saved on monthly Internet and phone costs. The DDA currently rents 550 square feet of space at 32 N. Washington St. for $650 per month from a private landlord.

“We already work really close with the planning department, physical services and others, so just having us there, sharing space and having close communication - on that end it seems to make sense,” he said.

The DDA operates with a staff of two and often has a part-time intern from Eastern Michigan University.

The DDA Board’s monthly meetings will continue to be held at SPARK East.

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber, who also serves on the DDA Board, highlighted the same advantages to the move, but also stressed that the DDA and city will remain separate legal entities.

“It makes a lot of sense to keep the DDA independent and with a separate legal counsel looking out for what’s best for DDA districts and downtown,” Schreiber said. “I think that there will still be enough of separation to make this work really well, and I think the DDA is going to continue to be a steward of downtown, Depot Town, and Campus Town (the West Cross District).”

Comments

Shae

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Great so when they move out; washington street will be entirely empty..

moonunit

Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

The Ypsi DDA is an anemic organization. It spends well over $130K on a Director and an assistant to manage the remaining roughly $270K that remains, and most of this money is spent on existing commitments. All that is really left to consider is less than $50K per year. A few good things are done no doubt; small fa├žade grants, flower plantings, dumpster enclosures, soon a portion of a Downtown police officer, a few hundred dollars to this and that, an in-house parking study. BUT this DDA has been a failure at procuring grants (except for Mr. Greden's efforts with the East Leaders), at any kind of fund raising, in putting on events, in basically doing much beyond the basics. They also rent out a $500K+ asset in the Riverside Arts Center for something like $1.00 per year, yes a buck a year! Calling them a steward of the Downtown is almost comical. If there is a serious desire to do positive things in the Downtowns, then scale back the administration to part-time status to free up another $60-70K, either sell the Riverside Arts Center or get market value rent, go after grants, develop some signature Downtown events that are actually in the Downtown, and help to market and/or develop all that we do have. If not, then I agree, just close it down.

TK2013

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

Disband the entire DDA. It is a proven failure.

sttc

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

if the city's general fund is so hard up for money, why not charge the DDA market rate rent?