The Cheboygan Downtown Development Authority is a twelve member board composed of business owners, managers and Downtown Cheboygan residents.
Formed in 1986, the DDA’s main purpose is to improve the functional quality as well as the aesthetics of Cheboygan’s Downtown while preserving its character.
The DDA is funded through the capture of Cheboygan tax dollars otherwise designated to the County of Cheboygan, the Cheboygan Public Library, and the City of Cheboygan.
The Cheboygan DDA Board of Directors consists of the Mayor and 11 board members.
Board of Directors
- Emily Eckhart, Chairperson, Nourish
- Brian Lange, Vice-Chairperson, The Nauti Inn Barstro, MichMash
- David Bishop, Bishop Automotive Group
- John Costin, Simply Marcella, The Queens Head
- Bobie Crongeyer, Treasurer, Judicial Management Systems, Inc.
- Vincent Hillesheim, Anchor In Marina
- Dennis Lindeman, Linde Furniture
- Christy Stempky, Nourish
- Ex-Officio Members:
- Mayor Mark C. Bronson
- Councilman Brett A. Mallory, Secretary
- Scott Herceg, Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Cheboygan Main Street
The City of Cheboygan was awarded Michigan Main Street Select Level status in 2019! As part of the Select Level, Cheboygan will receive five years of intensive technical assistance from MEDC with a focus on revitalization strategies designed to attract new residents, business investments, economic growth and job creation to the central business districts.
The Michigan Main Street Program aims to create communities distinguished by a “sense of place.” The rationale is based on a range of studies that show investing in creating a “sense of place” is an integral part of developing vibrant city centers and downtowns, thereby making the state economically stronger and culturally diverse.
There are currently 31 communities participating in the Michigan Main Street at engaged, select and master levels. Each level provides services based on a community’s commitment, from one to five years in the program.
“Developing downtowns is essential in building a tax base, raising property values and putting people to work,” said MEDC CEO Jeff Mason. “Programs like Michigan Main Street provide downtown communities with the tools needed to create jobs, provide desirable places to live and build a sense of place for Michigan residents.”
Over the past year, Michigan Main Street communities generated more than $28 million in private investment, 116 new businesses and 92 façade improvements. Since its inception in 2003, the Michigan Main Street has been a catalyst for job growth, private investment and community engagement. From 2003 through 2018, 1,299 new businesses have been launched, with a total public investment of nearly $90 million and total private investment of $286 million. In addition, more than 56,566 volunteer hours were recorded in the task of revitalizing downtowns across the state.
Improvements & Investments
The following is a list of the City of Cheboygan DDA’s accomplishments, projects, and investments for fiscal year 2018-19:
- Facade design drawing grant for the Queen’s Head – $1,000
- Formal application to Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for Select Level Michigan Main Street Community
- Sandblast and Powder Coat existing bike racks – $1,320
- Installed new artistic bike racks – $4,500
- Purchased bows for holiday decorations – $1,675
- Hanging flower basket installation ($2,200) and maintenance ($1,892)
- Installed cornstalks on the corner lamp posts – $30
Downtown Events play a critical role in driving customers into businesses on special events days. The following is a list of special events sponsored by the DDA during fiscal year 2018-19:
- Music Festival: Held the fourth Friday & Saturday in July in Festival Square, this event is a FREE admission activity. Performers from across the state take the stage for this event. 1,800 people attend and 60 volunteers assist.
- Rockin’ Rivertown Ride: This event is held on the Saturday of Music Fest and features a motorcycle poker run, bike parade and bike show. In 2018, 65 poker run participants and 50 bikes were featured. Bike participants came to this event from all over the state as well as Florida!
- Sidewalk Sales: Participating retailers offer discounted merchandise and display products on the sidewalk the first Thurdsay-Friday-Saturday in August.
- Labor Day Bridge Walk: Crowds gather on the east side of the State Street drawbridge on Labor Day for the annual Bridge Walk and Community Picnic. Line-up begins at 11:00 a.m. and the walk begins at 11:45 a.m.
- FallFest: This event features events held throughout the City with many events taking place in Festival Square. Held the first weekend in October, this is coordinated by a committee of volunteers.
- Downtown Trick-or-Treating: Downtown businesses welcome Trick-or-Treaters from 3-5 pm on Halloween. Main Street is closed from State to Court Streets to keep the event safe for everyone. In 2018, businesses reported between 1,500-2,000 children attending.
- Girls Night Out Events: Retailers and restaurants participate in Girls Night Out events in the fall and summer. The fall event is held near the opening day of deer rifle season. The summer event is held mid-June. 500 attend the fall event and 300 attend the summer activity. Businesses donate gift card/certificates as well as items to create gift baskets for a door prize drawing.
- Holiday Events: The DDA sponsored two holiday events in 2018: Downtown Hospitality Night and Men’s Night. Hospitality Night is the first Thursday in December and Men’s Night is the second Thursday. Businesses offered holiday refreshments as well as special shopping incentives during these events.
- Community Clean Up: The DDA sponsored a Community Clean Up event held in May and the City held a Community Dumpster Day on the same date. Volunteers met in Festival Square where teams were sent to areas within the City to clean up litter, rake, trim bushes and rid the areas of debris.
- Back to Bricks Car Show: The Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau partnered with the DDA to welcome the Back to Bricks Car Show from Flint, as Cheboygan was a scheduled lunch stop on the tour.
The DDA Plan was amended September 11, 2018 to include:
- Port of Cheboygan: The DDA is ready, willing and able to facilitate, encourage, and help any manufacturer that wants to use the Port of Cheboygan
- Riverfront Improvements: Improve riverfront properties owned by the City with the installation of kayak launches, upgrades to seawalls and electrical and development of rain gardens, landscaping and green space
- Install an RV Park Development on the east side of the Cheboygan River
- Provide any improvements to Festival Square
- Upon certification, follow recommendations from Michigan Main Street for implementation
- Installation of Wi-Fi throughout the downtown
At the end of the fiscal year 2018-19, the DDA had a fund balance of $281,019. As the DDA TIF Plan indicates, the DDA plans to assist the City with Riverfront Improvements, install an RV park development on the east side of the Cheboygan River, make necessary improvements to Festival Square, install wi-fi throughout the downtown district, and implement Michigan Main Street programming. These projects are anticipated to be in place by 2024.
The City of Cheboygan DDA receives the majority of its revenues from two sources:
- Tax Increment Funding (TIF), which goes towards downtown projects and improvements according to our DDA/TIF plan;
- Main Street donations which supplements the City’s Main Street program.
The 2018-2019 DDA Budget has one fund, Fund 248 (TIF). Debt service on the Festival Square project is $43,600. Our fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30. The most recent approved audit is Audit June 30, 2018.