DDA Minutes

 

2014 Minutes

 

City of St. Louis Downtown Development Authority

Minutes of Regular Meeting: January 23, 2014

Present: Lewis, Vibber, Anderson, Moore, McConkie, Worden, Morrow, Hansen

Absent/Excused: Baumann, Near, Kubin

Meeting called to order by Vice-chair Anderson at 12:17 p.m.

Minutes of meeting of October 24, 2013 were reviewed.

Moved by Morrow, supported by Lewis to approve minutes of October 24, 2013 and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Informational report from Hansen reviewed for December.

Moved by Vibber, supported by Worden to place the informational report on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Financial report through December 31, 2013 was reviewed.

Moved by Worden, supported by Vibber to approve the financial report through December 31, 2013 and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Hansen will discuss potential purchase of 111 North Mill Street with current renter Rhonda Clark.

Chairperson Moore entered meeting at 12:20 p.m.

Discussion held regarding DDA Board officers for 2014.

Moved by Morrow, supported by Worden to keep the following slate of officers:

Chair: Moore

Vice-chair: Anderson

Secretary/Treasurer: Vibber

All Ayes/Motion Carried

Discussion held regarding adding board members. Board instructed Hansen to approach Bill Coty from Extreme Sports, Monica McCloskey from the Blue Shamrock and Dana Saurman from River Rock Bar & Grill. Since board member Steve Baumann has closed the Corner Market and has it for sale, his board position may be open soon. Reminder that we have to send any board member recommendations to City Council for their approval.

Reminder that DDA Board meetings have moved to a quarterly schedule. Months to be January, April, July and October. Tentative times to be 12:15 p.m. for January and April and 5:30 p.m. for July and October. Dates will continue to be the fourth Thursday of those months.

Projects and individual properties were discussed including:

Historic Designation for downtown; a grant application to the Gratiot County Community Foundation yielded an award of $3,500. Less than what we hoped for, but a nice amount nonetheless. May or September to make actual application.

112 North Mill Street; Former Expressions Boutique. Sale pending to a physical therapy business. Supposed to close on it today, so hopefully more details very soon.

305 Michigan Avenue; Connoisseur Organics now open. Had ribbon cutting this month.

102 West Washington; Subway has new owner, Brad LaPoe from Midland. Will schedule a meeting with Hansen regarding empty part of building, exterior improvements and mural ideas.

103 East Saginaw Street; St. Louis Corner Café has new owners, Jodi Wenzlick & Jennifer Myers.

202 North Mill Street; Corner Market has told us they have a purchase agreement signed.

116 North Mill Street; Extreme Fitness Upper Deck ready to open done by Bill Coty. Area for baseball and softball training, hitting off Jugs machines, pitching lessons, two large 70' cages. Extreme Tan business/equipment is for sale.

131 North Mill Street; Frozen Orc did not last – gone this past month.

133 North Mill Street; O'Boyle & Associates Insurance opened recently. Lance O'Boyle and Lauren Barr.

Available properties were discussed. Hansen sent message to large list of local realtors to work closer with them on vacant commercial properties. Had good response so far. 200 block west side especially. Jesus Coffee House, Sportsmen's Barber Shop to $30,000, VCare Pharmacy building, former Upshaw's building

Façade Program for 2014 was discussed. Hansen will put together paperwork for April meeting. Possible projects include 111 North Mill second story front façade, Main Street Pizza awning, Dr. Zia's project, Subway exterior, windows at HairWorx Plus and the marquee at the GEM Theatre.

Streetscape improvements discussed. We have five new green banners already but need ideas for the spring including possibility of other colors, messages and designs. Extreme Sports has given us a price to consider of $65 apiece with a 3-year warranty. Almost all of the other 15 existing banners need replacement on M-46.

Moved by Vibber, supported by Morrow to spend up to $1,000 for M-46 banners.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Promotional, advertising and event topics were discussed. Mural for Jim's Barber Shop will be done this spring. SLHS Art students ready to take this project on. 2014 St. Louis Promotional Brochures begun. Printing typically in April. Group billboard project still being explored.

Gratiot Downtown Art Expo Banner Project begun. Application forms ready by the end of the month. 20 banners for North Mill Street; need to discuss possible topics/themes

Events coming up include:

PRIDE and New Business Awards tomorrow, Friday, January 24 at 7 a.m.

Chamber Annual Dinner next Thursday, January 30

Swiss Steak Dinner Fundraiser – Thursday, February 6 at Alma/St. Louis Elks Lodge

Comedy Night – Saturday, March 1 at Alma/St. Louis Elks Lodge

2014 Events List Flyer was included in handout to DDA Board.

Meeting adjourned at 12:55 p.m.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING DATE IS THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2014 AT 12:15 PM IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS IN CITY HALL
 
 
 
 
City of St. Louis Downtown Development Authority

Minutes of Regular Meeting: April 24, 2014

Present: Lewis, Vibber, Moore, McConkie, Morrow, Near, Kubin, Hansen

Absent/Excused: Baumann, Worden, Anderson

Meeting called to order by Chairperson Moore at 12:15 p.m.

Minutes of meeting of January 23, 2014 were reviewed.

Moved by Kubin, supported by Morrow to approve minutes of January 23, 2014 and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Informational report from Hansen reviewed for March.

Moved by Vibber, supported by Morrow to place the informational report on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Financial report through March 31, 2014 was reviewed.

Moved by Kubin, supported by McConkie to approve the financial report through March 31, 2014 and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

City Manager McConkie mentioned that property values have gone down in the City, as in many other municipalities. TIF collected this fiscal year is less than projected and it looks like 2014-2015 will be going the same direction.

Discussion held regarding DDA Board membership and meeting schedule. All three people that DDA Board asked Hansen to ask to consider joining did say yes: Bill Coty of Extreme Sports, Dana Saurman of River Rock Bar & Grill and Monica McCloskey of The Blue Shamrock Pub. Steve Baumann will continue to officially be on the board until the Corner Market property sells.

Moved by Morrow, supported by Near to ask City Council approval to name Bill Coty, Dana Saurman and Monica McCloskey to the St. Louis DDA Board and to have Hansen write a letter to Council with that request.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Kubin requested that the July DDA meeting, since it is at 5:30 p.m., be a brainstorming/planning session that could possibly include inviting all downtown business owners. Hansen will work on putting this together including having a rough agenda/list of potential topics.

Hansen provided report (attached) on downtown properties and project activities. In addition, board members mentioned that 227 North Mill Street was now in foreclosure and 131 North Mill Street may be up for tax sale as well. Also asked about the Clark gas station that still has not opened and the status of the Corner Market sale. Hansen and McConkie will continue to follow up on these situations. It was mentioned that St. Louis Liquor and Tobacco (former Mini-Mart) now has produce available. Question about local people interested in doing a Farmers Market. McConkie mentioned that if any group/organization or business could get a market up and running successfully, there may be Rural Development money available to help create a permanent home/structure for this type of thing. Morrow mentioned it looked like the Jesus Coffee House building had been emptied out and the owners moved to Alma. This building at 201 North Mill Street has already been for sale. Donna Kolar's plans for Purple Pear in Peg Boyd's house are on hold because of pipes freezing and major interior water damage over the winter.

Ownership of 111 North Mill Street building was discussed. Hansen requested that DDA Board considered putting together a small committee to look at the financial aspects of offering the building for sale to the current renter, Rhonda Clark.

Moved by Kubin, supported by Morrow to create a committee made up of Vibber, McConkie and Hansen to put together a proposal for the sale of 111 North Mill Street after looking carefully at the rent/financial situation

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Façade Program for 2014 was discussed and funds available. 111 North Mill Street as a priority this season. Hansen brought finished Façade Grant application from Greg Hamling, owner of 305 Michigan Avenue and recommended that he receive a $1,000 grant for improvements there.

Moved by Kubin, supported by McConkie to award a $1,000 Façade Grant to Greg Hamling for work on 305 Michigan Avenue.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Streetscape improvements discussed. We have five new green banners already but need ideas for the spring including possibility of other colors, messages and designs. Extreme Sports has given us a price to consider of $65 apiece with a 3-year warranty. Almost all of the other 15 existing banners need replacement on M-46. Board has already approved $1,000 expenditure for banners. Need to inventory and have this project done within a month.

Gratiot Downtown Art Expo Banner Project. 20 St. Louis designs have been selected. Hansen passed around copies of the banners that will be put up.

Spring Cleanup Items have been discussed with DPW Director Mark Abbott. Downtown has already been cleaned up with leaf blowers and mulch has started to be installed. Hansen will inform board of schedule for painting yellow lines, parking spots, etc.

The Mill Street Bridge will be renovated after July 4 and we should once again have four Victorian light poles at that location. We should consider putting banners there once the work is done, and also to have the light poles on the Main Street Bridge cleaned and banners installed there too, to have nice entryways into the downtown from the north.

Promotional, advertising and event topics were discussed. Mural for Jim's Barber Shop will be done this spring. SLHS Art students ready to take this project on. Will apply for $500 Pine River Arts Council grant probably on behalf of the Gratiot Area Chamber. 2014 St. Louis Promotional Brochures begun. Printing should be early-mid May.

Events coming up include: (flyers available for all)

Memorial Day Parade – Monday, May 26 at 10 a.m.

Joe Scholtz Memorial Free Fishing Derby – Saturday, June 7

Middle of the Mitten Community Golf Outing – Thursday, June 12

St. Louis Classic Car Cruise-Ins

Meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING DATE IS THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2014 AT 5:30 PM IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS IN CITY HALL
 
 
City of St. Louis Downtown Development Authority

Minutes of Regular Meeting: July 24, 2014

Present: Lewis, Vibber, Moore, Morrow, Near, Kubin, Anderson, Coty, Saurman, McCloskey, Hansen

Absent/Excused: Baumann, McConkie, Worden

Meeting called to order by Chairperson Moore at 5:30 p.m.

DDA Board welcomed new members Monica McCloskey, Dana Saurman and Bill Coty. This brings us to our maximum of 13 members. Steve Baumann will drop off board once the Corner Market property has been sold.

Minutes of meeting of April 24, 2014 were reviewed.

Moved by Morrow, supported by Kubin to approve minutes of April 24, 2014 and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Financial report through June 30, 2014 was reviewed.

Moved by Vibber, supported by Lewis to approve the financial report through June 30, 2014 and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Property values have gone down in the City, as in many other municipalities. TIF income estimate for this year is enough to pay parking lot bond payment but not much else. Counting this new Fiscal Year, there are four yearly payments yet to be paid on the parking lot/alley project. Final payment is due October 1, 2017 which is the 2017-2018 FY.

Meeting schedule for DDA Board will continue to be quarterly, however, discussion was held to have a brainstorming/planning event to include other downtown business people and other interested people in the community. Board decided on Wednesday, September 24 at 7 p.m. for this meeting. Hansen will work on a list of potential topics as well on an invitation for this.

Historic Designation for Downtown was discussed. SHPO has approved preliminary application and official application will be made in September. DDA will still need to pay for part of this work. Rationale for wanting this designation reviewed: gives tax breaks to potential new building owners or developers as well as some recognition to the designated historic area. Brief discussion of where a Michigan Historical Marker could be placed. Possibly on the site of the new City Hall building.

111 North Mill Street was discussed. Vibber, McConkie and Hansen met to discuss the potential sale to the current renter, Rhonda Clark. This is no longer such a time-sensitive issue since Treasurer Bobbie Marr determined a method to keep the property on the DDA books that satisfied the State of Michigan as well as auditors. Board emphasized that we have the second floor of the storefront painted this season. Hansen will contact Bryan Pyle and Brian Massaway for estimates.

Façade Program was put on hold considering the current financial situation.

Hansen provided report on downtown properties and project activities:

227 North Mill Street was moving towards forclosure but sign in front window is now gone.

Vibber says we could check at County Courthouse for details.

BB's Massage renovation continues at Dr. Zia's property at 220 North Mill Street. A fall opening.

Expansion/improvements coming at St. Louis Marathon this year. Chuck Griffith has designed.

Need to check if property they acquired from Bear Truss is in the DDA area.

Corner Market has a new purchase agreement with a different buyer.

7/11 and Sunoco just had a complete interior renovation this past month.

Carla McCreery still waiting on new sign for former Sportsmen's Barber Shop.

New City Hall project now has August 21 bid opening.

Talked to Clark Gas Station owner and he said they are still planning to proceed.

Donna Kolar project at Peg Boyd property still on hold for Purple Pear Place.

House on corner of North Franklin and M-46 has new roof and renovations continue.

Hansen will look into status of condemned apartment building next to Post Office – Jeff Arnold

No activity at Jesus Coffee House building for sale at 201 North Mill Street.

Streetscape improvements discussed. 20 Gratiot Downtown Art Expo Banners were put up on North Mill Street prior to Memorial Day weekend. Hansen and Electric Department went through green M-46 banners and disposed of those in poor repair. Did not have to purchase any new banners this year with DDA funds though $1,000 had been approved. Board members mentioned North Mill Street sidewalks have some trip hazards both in sidewalks themselves and also some water shutoff pipe openings sitting above sidewalk level. Need to inventory these problems and talk to DPW and Water Department.

Street lining was done prior to July 4 including center lines, parking spot lines, yellow and blue areas, etc. Two weeks ago both main downtown parking lots had cracks filled and were sealed and lined completely for the first time since they were repaved in 2003. Parking lot work was $7,200 which was taken care of in the DPW budget.

The Mill Street Bridge will be renovated beginning soon. This project did not get started as early as MDOT initially estimated, so it will not be open for the beginning of the school year. Need to check to see if foot traffic will be allowed or if things will be completely closed. Board did not seem to think that there was much school bus traffic that used that route anyway. It will necessitate the routing of the Old US-27 Motor Tour entrance to use Pine Street again rather than going around the Mill Pond.

Promotional, advertising and event topics were discussed. Mural for Jim's Barber Shop will be done this fall. Will apply for $500 Pine River Arts Council grant probably on behalf of the Gratiot Area Chamber. Need to consider doing some plantings in that area, perhaps adding a bench and cutting down the big evergreen tree there. Jerry Lewis/Steve Near who own property in that area felt the same way. St. Louis Middle of the Mitten Association/Gratiot Area Chamber has $1,000 for us to use for murals including possibility on Subway building. 2014 St. Louis Promotional Brochures finished and are continuing to be distributed.

Events coming up include:

Gratiot County Relay For Life – August 8 & 9 here at SLHS. Volunteers putting up purple

Ribbons on light poles and signs up. Have more ribbons, bows and posters available

for downtown businesses to use on their storefronts.

St. Louis Classic Car Cruise-Ins – about 61 cars last time; August 13 and September 10

Old US-27 Motor Tour – Thursday, August 21

Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING DATE IS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014 AT 5:30 PM IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS IN CITY HALL
 
City of St. Louis Downtown Development Authority

Minutes of Regular Meeting: October 23, 2014

Present: Lewis, Moore, Morrow, Near, Kubin, Anderson, Coty, Saurman, Worden, Hansen

Absent/Excused: Baumann, McConkie, McCloskey, Vibber

Meeting called to order by Chairperson Moore at 5:30 p.m.

Minutes of meeting of July 24, 2014 were reviewed as was the September 30, 2014 update to board.

Moved by Morrow, supported by Worden to approve minutes of July 24, 2014 as well as the September 30, 2014 report and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Financial report through September 30, 2014 was reviewed. Counting winter taxes still to come in, there will be about $20,000 in cash/savings. Parking lot bond issue payment has already been made in September.

Moved by Worden, supported by Lewis to approve the financial report through June 30, 2014 and place on file.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Brad Vibber has retired from Chemical Bank and has submitted his resignation. Asked that Hansen pass along his thanks to the board and to mention that this was one board he is truly sad to be leaving. Bob McConkie's last day as City Manager before his retirement is tomorrow, Friday, October 24. Incoming City Manager Kurt Giles will take his place on the DDA Board. Steve Baumann will drop off the board upon sale of the Corner Market. Discussion of possible replacements.

Moved by Morrow, supported by Worden to request to the St. Louis City Council that Mary Peterman of Chemical Bank be named to the DDA Board.

All Ayes/Motion Carried.

Historic Designation for Downtown was discussed. Nomination was approved at the state level in Lansing on September 19, now needs to go to national level. The final invoice for this was paid in September so the DDA has no more financial responsibilities towards this project. Waiting to hear from SHPO on timetable to have final approval at national level.

Hansen provided report on downtown properties and project activities:

BB's Massage renovation continues at Dr. Zia's property at 220 North Mill Street.

Expansion/improvements coming at St. Louis Marathon. Need to check with Manny Nannan.

Corner Market liquor license transfer was completed last Friday, October 17 and they are hoping to

close with purchase by November 1.

New City Hall bid has been awarded and work is beginning. Target date for completion is August.

Talked to Clark Gas Station owner and he said they are still planning to proceed. Have heard this before

with no progress, unfortunately.

Jesus Coffee House building at 201 North Mill Street in process of being sold.

Donna Kolar still intends to create Purple Pear Place at Peg Boyd's former house on M-46 in spring.

Six Mountains Upholstery moving into 122 North Mill Street on November 1. Petals and Produce

closing at the end of October.

Conoisseur Organics on Michigan Avenue planning to potentially use more the the building they are

renting across from the library.

Some of the trip hazards have been addressed on North Mill Street.

Sheet piling should be being removed from the Pine River north of downtown within a month or so.

Will probably be noisy, but removes one more eyesore.

North Mill Street renovations have been completed.

North Main Street bridge railing replacement underway, should be finished this fall.

Mary Anderson said they would have space available for rent up at Anderson Carpeting. Dun Gud Auto

Detailing is moving out at the end of the month. Morrow said Bill Walker is looking for space.

Inniger Masonry looked at second story façade at 111 North Mill Street yesterday. Would like to get

this painted right away in the spring. Kubin mentioned to try to call Bryan Pyle.

St. Louis is now on the Low-Mod community list so that we qualify more easily for some CDBG grant programs. This could attract downtown building owners to consider second story apartment and/or façade improvements. Projects must be significantly large however.

Next summer Michigan Avenue from Alma to Cheesman Road will be torn up, as well as Giddings Place as part of the Water Authority project.

Future projects include full repaving, curb & gutter, etc. on Prospect Street west to Corinth, then out to Madison Road. This will improve another entryway into downtown from the north. A City project that is helped with MDOT money and hopefully a CDBG grant. This would continue the 2013 project that did North Main Street to Prospect. This is likely a 2016 project.

Mural will have to wait until spring at Jim's Barber Shop. Schools have not had time to take this on. Hansen has talked to Arts Center in Alma and they may be able to help with this.

Christmas lights will be up on North Mill Street by the weekend of November 8/9 for the Christmas Open House Sale. Rest of decorations to be up by Thanksgiving.

Events coming up include:

Trick or Treat – Friday, October 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Small Town Family Christmas – Thursday, December 4 – parade starts at 6 p.m.

Brainstorming Session began at 6 p.m. Additional guests: Bev Apps of Weathervane Antiques, Brian Wood of Extreme Sports, Susan Moore of St. Louis Variety

Notes from Brainstorming Session:

Hansen gave summary of what DDA and City of St. Louis have done in the past 15 years regarding physical improvements in the downtown. Victorian lighting, landscaping, sidewalks, parking lot and alleyway reconstruction, façade grants, etc. Goal has been to create a clean, attractive atmosphere in the downtown that is conducive to businesses being successful. Because DDA funds are low at this point, no projects of this type are scheduled in the near future but board and guests agreed that we are in good shape overall on this topic.

Discussed what might work in the future to help businesses do better.

Consider having an evening where everyone was open downtown, even the banks.

Thought that Classic Car Cruise-Ins have been a positive, even though sales those nights may not be great, it still has brought a new group of people to Downtown St. Louis. The hope is that they come back on other days and help spread a positive message. Coty mentioned that the new business he has moving in to 122 North Mill Street first heard of St. Louis because of the Old US-27 Motor Tour.

Suggested rotating the single-line billboard on M-46 under the McDonald's sign to advertise a special event or two. Needs weed-whacking to be done first. Wood will get us a cost for a new banner to be put there. Hansen did mention that we would be running into money if we wanted to change it too often, because a “timely” message/advertisement really needs to be taken down right away after the event is over or it looks bad. Coty thought that we might be able to put timely messages on right OVER the existing one and remove them without hurting the original.

Hansen will also put together a proposal from LAMAR Sign Company for individual businesses to have big billboard access over the course of an entire year. Kubin's and River Rock would be interested for sure, maybe more people once they saw the details.

Other businesses they hoped for downtown might be a flower shop, health food store, photography studio, etc. Hansen encouraged them to work with each other in advertising. Putting business cards, flyers and brochures in each other's stores, etc.

Some had heard that Chippewa Cab was closing its taxi service or just leaving the St. Louis/Alma area at the end of the month. Not sure how much it is used, but some thought it was a nice thing to have in our area. Saurman had the name of another company that she thought might consider being here. Group talked about the pros and cons of Dial-A-Ride. Didn't see that many people on those buses. Thought more people were using it to take kids to school than anything. Weren't sure that it was bringing people into St. Louis to come downtown and thought the runs/trip times were pretty far apart. City does pay a significant amount of money for this every year and they suggested City Council discuss it.

Suggestions for advertising & promotion including:

marching in our parades and handing things out

consider a Pink Sale again – St. Louis Variety is going to try this in March if anyone wants to do it then

WQBX/WFYC offer of $1,000 for 1,000 radio spots has been successful and people are happy with it

MEGA WRAP cover to the Alma Reminder has worked well for some

Hansen puts out Facebook and Constant Contact e-newsletters every week – SEND HIM THINGS!

placemats being done locally instead of by big companies was well supported – call E & S Graphics

have events and/or sports schedules on them

Discussed events a bit. Group felt that separating the Blues Festival and 4th of July fireworks would be best. Looking at a different weekend for Blues Festival. Group thought a beer tent with local bands on Fireworks night would go over well and not be as costly, as we wouldn't need a big stage, etc.

Meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING DATE IS THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 2015 AT 12:15 PM IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS IN CITY HALL
 
   
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