Downtown Development Authority

Downtown St. Louis has changed tremendously over the past several years!
Since 2001 with the assistance of several grant programs, the DDA and City have produced over $2 million in physical improvements to the downtown area.  Newly paved parking lots and alleyways along with Victorian lighting, banners, benches, landscaping, stamped concrete and new curb and gutter can be found in the majority of the DDA area.  The downtown has a nice mix of businesses that serve both the citizens as well as the many visitors who stop in St. Louis throughout the year. 
Business activity has increased over this time period as well, with many new businesses locating downtown. Some of the newer businesses include:
  • The Bakers Dozen 
  • The Blue Shamrock Pub
  • Extreme Sports Apparel
  • Extreme Fitness
  • Primary Home Care
  • Helcher's Black Belt Academy
  • Common Threads Quilt Shop
  • Farm Bureau Insurance
  • Discount Tire & Battery
  • Center Stage at the GEM Theater 
  • D-Tails Dog & Cat Grooming Salon
  • Law Office of Rhonda Clark
  • Weathervane Antiques 
The DDA has been a driving force in the development of the downtown, as they hired a director in 1998 and began having monthly meetings to best serve the needs of the growing community. Two different buildings downtown were purchased by the DDA in order to renovate them in preparation for new businesses.  The two projects together required an investment of over $250,000 by the DDA.

A Tax Increment Financing Program was also put into effect in 1999 as was the expansion of the DDA area to include some sections of M-46. Zoning was also improved in this area, as a Transitional Zone was created allowing for homes along M-46 to be used for low-impact businesses such as antique shops, etc. The TIF program provides a steady stream of income for downtown projects and the Central Business District and M-46 continue to develop at a good pace.

Building owners have shown a lot of pride in the appearance of their storefronts recently as well, and local banks also have been cooperative in a low-interest loan program. Chemical Bank, Firstbank, and Commercial Bank have all made loans to downtown businesses for physical improvements so that the downtown can continue to look better and better.  The DDA's own Facade Grant Program also provides downtown building owners with small grants to assist them in making exterior improvements. 

Also complementing Downtown St. Louis is the location of St. Louis High School, just one block from the Central Business District and beautiful Clapp Park on M-46 the official "Middle of the Mitten" as it is the geographic center of the Lower Peninsula. In addition, the area is dotted with many Victorian homes and the St. Louis Area Historical Society depot museum is only three blocks away. Finally, the City-owned W.T. Morris Memorial Swimming Pool has been rebuilt with help from the DNR and is again an attraction downtown in 2005.  The $400,000 project is an exciting improvement in the downtown.

DDA meetings are currently held the fourth Thursday of every month at 12:15 in Council Chambers in City Hall. Should you have any questions on DDA work, call DDA Director Phil Hansen at (989) 681-3017 or e-mail him at We especially welcome inquiries into available properties to buy or lease, in or near our downtown. We are ready to assist anyone considering starting a business here, and would be anxious to talk to anyone interested.
In order to more thoroughly promote its downtown businesses, Downtown St. Louis now has its own website!  Please CLICK HERE to view the downtown site.
Downtown Development Authority Board Members 2017:
Scott Morrow
Peters Hardware 

Monica McCloskey

Blue Shamrock Pub

Lenore Worden

Hair Worx Plus 

Jim Moore
St. Louis Variety

George Kubin

Kubin's Furniture & Gifts 

Kurt Giles

City Manager 

Jerry Lewis

Jim's BarberShop 

Dr. Stephen Near


Corey Bailey Commercial Bank

Mary Anderson

Anderson Custom Carpeting
Dana Saurman River Rock Bar & Grill

Contact Information

Philip Hansen
DDA Director
Phone: (989) 681-3017
Fax: (989) 681-3842
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