2013-02-14 / Front Page

DDA still seeking extension

Expiration could forestall grants

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Downtown Development Authority is expected to introduce a draft amendment to extend the authority past its 2018 expiration date at their regular meeting on Feb. 19.

The Authority and the city council approved and adopted the original Tax Increment Financing and Development Plan in 1988. The original plan contained a list of projects to be undertaken by the Authority in cooperation with the city.

According to DDA Chairman Rick Demers, the 2013 amendment will extend the duration of the original plan to allow for financing and completion of projects and provide for new projects and activities for the purpose of preventing property value deterioration and encourage further investment within the district.

The issue came to light more than two years ago, Demers explained, when the DDA set out to make major renovations to the city marina. At a cost of approximately $4.2 million, the DDA plans to rebuild the current marina, including: construction of new broadside docking, replacing binwalls, constructing new floating piers, installing pumpout stations and a fuel station, constructing a new harbormaster’s house and public restrooms, constructing parking lot improvements and installing playground equipment.

Other projects in the proposed plan include land acquisitions and a campground.

According to Demers, the DDA received word in December that grant funds for half of the marina project rebuild were approved. In order to bond its match portion of the grants, the DDA will have to extend its life span, he added.

Presently, the DDA is not allowed to bond past its expiration date.

“We received word that funds were approved, and felt this is a once in a life time opportunity we could not afford to pass,” Demers said. “All you have to do is take a walk down to the marina and see the shape it’s in. We are already two-plus years into this project; if we turn the grant down there is zero chance it will come around again and without it, our marina will be lost.”

The DDA currently receives a total of $534,774 in tax capture from the city and various county agencies. The extension process may be complete by May.

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