What is a Downtown Development Authority?
The state of Michigan passed the Downtown Development Authority Act (PA 197 of 1975) to give municipalities a tool for improving the quality of downtown areas. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) promotes economic growth and revitalization and encourages historic preservation within the central business district. The DDA seeks to reverse historical trends that have led to loss of population, jobs, businesses, and the quality of life within the downtown area.
The Comstock Park DDA was chartered in August of 1993 through Plainfield Charter Township and is a development agency responsible for many improvements in the downtown area. Our DDA projects have contributed significantly to the growth and development of Comstock Park. Projects include infrastructure improvements, streetscape improvements, landscaping maintenance, parking lot and sidewalk maintenance, replacement and repairs, marketing and grant programs.
DDA project funding and maintenance is derived from capturing a percentage of the revenue from the growth in taxable values within the DDA District. Through an accumulating process, the DDA has escrowed sufficient funds to pay for projects without incurring debt or requiring bonding.
Around Town in Brief
Think Chromatic in downtown Comstock Park got bigger this year. “We were experiencing a lot of growth and demand in the services we’re offering,” said Jay Hoelscher, owner of the digital imagery and animation company at 3934 West River Dr. His company occupied about 600 square feet and shared the upstairs of the old Comstock Park Foods building with another company. When the other company moved out, Hoelscher took over the entire 2400 square foot second floor space.
The company had initially focused on the furniture industry, said Hoelscher, and expanded their scope doing more with medical, consumer products, transportation, fencing, decking, and televised commercial work with video production companies. He also attributed the growth to adding larger companies to his customer base. When Hoelscher opened his business at the current location in August 2014 he had one employee. As of April 2016, they have expanded to nine. He bought new equipment and software to accommodate the growth. As for the future, Hoelscher said he anticipates nothing but continued growth.
The Comstock Park Branch Library now offers biicycles for checkout. The library has four adult size Breezer Uptown EX 8-speed bicycles available for circulation so patrons can enjoy bicycling in Dwight Lydell Park or the White Pine Trail. The bikes are available for checkout to anyone 18 years or older with a KDL card in good standing. Participants must sign a borrower’s agreement and waiver. Bikes check out for one day and must be returned before the library’s closing time. The library doesn’t provide helmets and strongly recommends customers bring their own helmet. For more information go to www.kdl.org
World Famous Rotary Barbeques
Upcoming Sewer/water construction
Plainfield Charter Township plans to complete a water and wastewater system improvements project in the downtown Comstock Park area this summer with construction beginning as early as May 31st and an ending estimated in mid-September.
Several roads and parking areas will be impacted as a result of construction. These locations are listed below, along with the current estimates for when the areas may be impacted. The following timelines are estimates and may change due to weather, delays in construction and other unforeseen circumstances.
1. Lamoreaux Dr., east of West River Dr. (open to local business traffic only) June thru July
2. Public parking lot, southeast corner of Lamoreaux Dr. and West River Dr. (closed intermittently as necessary to install sewer) Mid-June thru July
3. Southbound access road/parking area, on west side of White Pine Trail (closed as necessary to install sewer) Mid-June thru August
4. Mill Creek Avenue, south of West River Dr. to Johnstone Supply (temporary road closure) Early August thru mid-August
5. Stowell St. and Laramie Ave. (temporary road closure – Stowell St., local business traffic only – Laramie Ave.) Mid-July thru August
6. West River Dr. (southbound lane closure) Mid-August thru mid-September
Where road/parking lot closures are necessary, access will be limited to local business traffic only. Closures will be planned for non-peak traffic times if possible and will be coordinated with local businesses. Emergency vehicle access will be maintained at all times.
White Pine Trail Detour
>> Click for map of Detour <<
Michael Bass retires after almost three decades on DDA Board
Michael Bass, a founding member of the Comstock Park Downtown Development Authority, has retired from the Board. Thirty years ago Bass helped form the Comstock Park Business Association and then helped establish the DDA Board.
“Thirty years ago…a group of individuals got together to improve the area,” said Bass at his last DDA meeting June 15. “We’ve done some amazing things…I think people appreciate what’s been done in Comstock Park.”
Bass has held several positions on the Board, and most recently he served as treasurer.
Bass is originally from Ohio where he attended Ohio State University. He moved to West Michigan in 1976 to go into the building business with a friend and is now vice-president of sales, broker, and manager of the Greenridge Realty office at 4250 East Beltline Ave. He managed the Greenridge office on West River Drive in Comstock Park until it was sold in 2013. Bass was also a member of the Tradewinds Credit Union Board of Directors until March 2016.
Bass said that while he owned property in Comstock Park when he joined the DDA, he no longer has that property, and that it’s time for new people on the Board.
photo of owner Scott Johnson
A satisfied customer is good for business, said Scott Johnson, noting a lot of his business comes from referrals. Johnson, owner of Precision Heating & Cooling located at 4786 West River Drive in Comstock Park, said he and his employees are on call twenty four hours a day for their customers adding, “Whenever we get a blast of cold, we get calls.”
The folks at Precision heating & Cooling sell, install, service, and repair furnaces, air conditioning, and water heaters for residential and light commercial properties. Those are big investment items, said Johnson. When purchasing a furnace he said your choice will depend on your house – its size, layout, size of the duct work, and the like – and what you can afford. He noted that high efficiency furnaces save money over the course of the furnace’s life time, which is typically 15 to 20 years.