Alpena DDA Seeks Comments on Proposed Boundary Expansion | News, Sports, Jobs

News photo by Steve Schulwitz Spenser Fisher, salesman at McInerney Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, adjusts a seat in a car at the dealership on Tuesday. The company will be included in the Alpena Downtown Development District if it expands its boundaries. It could also mean higher taxes for property owners in the expanded neighborhood.

ALPENA – People who own property within the proposed expanded boundaries of the Alpena Downtown Development Authority district will soon learn how much additional tax they could pay to help fund the DDA and its initiatives.

The proposed expansion would encompass Chisholm Street to the bridge near MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena, River Street from the Holiday Inn Express to 9th Avenue and travel further down 2nd Avenue to Clark Street. It would also include part of 9th Avenue near Players Pub and Grub.

The DDA is funded by Tax Increment Financing, which captures annual growth in property values ​​on an annual basis and reinvests those dollars in public facilities as defined by law in the TIF District.

The DDA’s FIT is around 1.98 mill which is taxed only on any increase in the value of the property.

The TIF also captures tax revenue from Alpena County and the City of Alpena, as well as Alpena Community College. Some of the tax money collected from local mills also goes to the DDA.

Each entity has the option to opt out, which could force the DDA to go back to the drawing board or abandon the plan altogether, DDA executive director Anne Gentry said.

“The county, for example, could say they don’t want to contribute and that would make it more difficult,” Gentry said. “If any of them were to pull out, then we would have to re-evaluate if it’s worth expanding because our budget won’t increase and we’re already limited in what we have and what we’re doing. .”

The DDA board voted on Monday to send information to landowners explaining the DDA’s goals for new areas, how the money will be used and how much they may have to pay in increased taxes.

“Property owners in these new areas will be notified and given information about the DDA, and the benefits they would have from being in our district, as well as their tax increases,” Gentry said. “Then we will contact our local tax jurisdiction as it will be affected.”

Gentry said the expansion of the DDA and additional revenue from the TIF will help revitalize the areas. She said business owners and residents can expect beautification projects, such as new lighting, hanging flowers, bike racks and other amenities that the current neighborhood enjoys.

Businesses in new DDA sections would also be aware of DDA programs, such as the Frontage Grant Program which helps improve storefronts and host events that can bring more traffic to that area of ​​town. .

Board member Matt Wojda said educating owners and informing them of the details of the expanded TIF expansion is the right thing to do so they aren’t caught off guard if the plan becomes a reality. He said reaching out to landowners in the proposed expansion area now allows the DDA to answer questions and address concerns.

“One of the reasons we want this feedback is that these properties are going to be affected. We think it makes sense to include them in the DDA, but it only makes sense if we get buy-in from the community,” Wojda said. “If there are people who don’t want to be involved, we also want to hear from them, and those who support him.”

John Fisher, McInerney Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram sales manager, said owner Mike McInerney supports the expansion of DDA, which would include the auto dealership.

Fisher said he thinks the funding and support the DDA could provide would breathe a breath of fresh air into a part of town that has been somewhat overlooked. More investment near the dealership, Fisher said, could also lead to more development in an area that needs it.

“Nobody likes to see their taxes go up, but there are a lot of rundown buildings here and if we can rectify that, it would make this area more attractive not only to the public but also to future businesses,” Fisher said.

Ben Young’s family owns Players Pub and Grub on 9th Street. He has supported the expansion of the DDA since it was first considered. He said having the same opportunities as businesses in the downtown core will help those just outside the current boundaries.

“The growth potential for businesses is huge,” Young said. “We can see what the DDA has been able to do in the past and we think the same can happen to us. I think it can make us all beautiful and more attractive.

Gentry said after corresponding with owners, the current TIF plan needs to be updated to include the updated limits. She said it could start this summer. Alpena City Council must also approve the plan and expansion.

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