DDA hires PUMA as consultant | Business

  Derenzy     TRAVERSE CITY — A plan to hire a national consultant that…

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TRAVERSE CITY — A plan to hire a national consultant that could help shape the future direction of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority was approved Friday after board members debated the issue. Maybe you like kelas online.

The DDA board of directors approved entering into a contract not to exceed $115,000 with Denver-based Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) for consulting services to “assist the DDA in identifying potential future organizational and financial scenarios.”

DDA CEO Jean Derenzy said PUMA, which has been a part of efforts with downtowns in Grand Rapids and Detroit, will work with the organization on a holistic “approach for the organization to address the future needs of the the DDA.”

The scope of the consulting work includes opportunities to modernize the DDA, exploration of a new plan for “tax increment financing (TIF) and business development that includes a new revenue-sharing model and provide other potential funding source scenarios” and a detailed market assessment, according to a memo in the board packet. TIF 97, one of the central funding sources for the DDA, is set to expire in 2027.

DDA board member Pam Marsh raised several questions about hiring the consultant including the cost and distance from Traverse City. Marsh also wondered “what was wrong with the original strategic plan” the organization already developed.

Derenzy said the DDA strategic plan is focused on projects, but is not visionary.

“We can’t just look at TIF, we have to look at all the (financial) elements,” said Derenzy, who emphasized a TIF exploration “will not dissolve the DDA.”

Vice-chair Scott Hardy, who has served on DDA board for two decades in two multiple stints, said the organization has grown significantly during that time using the same business model. He added the PUMA contract is “money well spent” and will help explore other ways to fund the DDA’s mission.

“Our strategic plan talked about where do we want to go, not how do we get there,” Hardy said.

In other business at the one-hour meeting, the DDA board:

  • Welcomed new board members Michael Brodsky and Katy Bertodatto. Derenzy also announced Art Bukowski started earlier this month as Communications and Outreach Director.
  • Took no action on a request for the DDA to take over enforcement of the employee parking in Lot L at the Governmental Center. Questions about the issuance of permits and signage need to be answered first, several members said.
  • Amended Farmers Market Advisory Board Governing Rules to reduce the number of members from 12 to nine.

Approved and authorized Derenzy to execute a $45,000 Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority environmental assessment grant for the alley along the 100 and 200 blocks of East Front Street.

  • Appointed members to various committees, advisory boards and commissions for 2022.