2017-05-18 / Front Page

DDA looks to improve old Sunoco site, beautify downtown

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK – The Downtown Development Authority has had its eye on the old Sunoco site for years, and it looks like they’ll finally get to put some money into big improvements at the once-blighted corner.

The DDA stands to collect about $61,050 in revenues for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The total is the third greatest for the DDA. Revenues for the current fiscal year tallied $68,320. At $76,496, the income for 2015-16 was the greatest in the history of the authority, according to City Manager Adam Zettel.

The DDA is looking to put about $90,000 into streetscaping, which includes the Sunoco site. That means they will draw down their fund balance to get the job done.

“We have been saving for this project,” said Zettel.

If all goes as planned, the DDA will end fiscal year 2017-18 with $22,000 in the bank.

A final decision is pending regarding what will become of the property at Miller Road and Holland Drive.

Whichever route the city chooses to take, it will likely tie-in to a greater effort toward “branding” the downtown business district.

The DDA will work with consultants to create a theme for the area.

“We are engaging a group of people who do this for a living,” said DDA member Todd Beedy. “They will conceptualize (a theme) and bring it back to the table, and we will refine it. This could take 18 to 24 months. Baby steps.”

The theme could include a logo, slogan and colors to drive improvements and development, he said.

Beedy added that the city and DDA will engage the public in the planning, and city officials will be the final arbiter on any decisions.

Already, the city has invested in decorative street signs throughout the areas of Miller, Morrish and Elms roads.

In addition to the Sunoco project, the DDA will spend about $10,000 in grants to downtown business owners who wish to improve their facades, and $3,900 for Family Movie Night.

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