Downtown Development Authority

The mission of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is

  • To correct and prevent deterioration
  • To encourage historical preservation
  • To promote economic growth within the DDA district
  • Develop and adopting a “development plan” as well as implement the activities explicitly stated in the plan

Finance projects of the Authority may be derived from several sources including: taxes, revenues generated from the use of assets, proceeds from revenue bonds, municipal funds including state and federal grants, special assessment levies, and tax increment financing receipts.Tax Increment Financing is a government financing program which contributes to economic growth and development by dedicating a portion of the tax base resulting from the economic growth and development to certain public facilities and structures or improvements of the type designed and dedicated to public use and thereby facilitate certain projects which create economic growth and development. That it is necessary for the legislature to exercise the sovereign power to legislate tax increment financing as authorized in this act and in the exercise of this sovereign power to mandate the transfer of tax increment revenues by city, village, township, school district, and county treasurers to authorities created under this act in order to effectuate the legislated government programs to eliminate the conditions of unemployment, underemployment, and joblessness and to promote state economic growth.

Program/Grant Offerings

  • Highway Advertising Signs: The DDA offers small or large signs for businesses that would like to advertise in two locations at the Lawrence I-94 exit ramp. Signs must fit listed criteria and the advertiser must complete and submit the attached contract. Further details including sizing options and pricing are attached here.
  • Facade Improvement Program: To encourage businesses and property owners to improve & maintain building facades. This program is contingent upon the availability of budgeted funds and will be awarded on a first come first served basis, unless the DDA concludes that the applicant has an immediate need that could substantially enhance the DDA district. The DDA reserves the right to revise or end these programs at any time and in no way guarantees availability of funding for any specific project or at any given time. Application form are attached here.
  • Paint only program: The DDA may match the property or business owner for the cost of paint & labor on 50/50 basis up to $350. Paint colors must meet the general guidelines of the DDA for consistency in the district. All buildings qualify for this program including residential homes within the district. Purchase of paint from a business within the district qualifies the applicant for an additional 5% participation from the DDA.
  • Repair and Restoration: The DDA may provide up to 1/3 of the funding for facade restoration projects that may include work such as painting, window repair, replacement of the siding, minor tuck pointing, brick replacement, etc. Projects must be approved by the DDA for conformity for the overall consistency with the character of the district. maximum grant funding for the project will be $1000. Purchase of materials or services from a business in the district qualifies the applicant for an additional 5% participation from the DDA. Loans from the DDA for facade renovation are not available at this time due to the limited funds available. This area will be updated when permitted by additional funds.

The Lawrence DDA was formed via the creation of The 1975 State of Michigan ACT 197, which can be viewed here. The Lawrence DDA Development and its Tax Increment Finance Plan of 2000 can be viewed here. The DDA District map can be viewed here.

DDA Incubator Program

PURPOSE: The DDA Incubator Program is designed to help recruit and retain retail businesses in vacant store fronts in the DDA district. The program will offer rent subsidies to business tenants as funding permits per the approved fiscal year budget, or a monthly subsidy to an owner operated store front business that has been vacant for a least six consecutive months.

GUIDELINES:

  1. The DDA will appropriate an amount the Business Incubator account in the annual DDA budget.
  2. The appropriation shall be used to assist retail businesses located in empty storefronts in the DDA district by subsidizing monthly rental costs or a monthly subsidy to an owner operated store front business that has been vacant for a least six consecutive months.
  1. To qualify for the rental reimbursement program the business shall have a minimum two year lease agreement.
  • Reimbursement for lease subsidies from the DDA will be made within 10 days of rent payment to the landlord. The requestor shall submit a reimbursement request form to the DDA along with a copy of the rental payment to the landlord which is to be reimbursed. Reimbursement shall be for the current month only, no past due rent is eligible for reimbursement. For the owner operated subsidy the owner shall submit a monthly subsidy request form for the current month only.
  • Reimbursement will be made in the following amounts: month 1-6 = $300.00 per month; month 7-12 = $150.00 per month; month 13-18 = $100.00 per month; month 19-24 = no subsidy.
  • The address of the property being leases or owed (if owner operated) must have at least a 6 month reimbursement moratorium before is eligible for a successor businesses in the DDA district.
  • To ensure the financial integrity of the business incubator program, no more than two reimbursement program contracts may be active at any one given time.
  • An application for rent reimbursement or an owner operated business subsidy must be approved by the DDA board prior to any funds are to be disbursed. Applications are available at the Lawrence Village Office during normal business hours. Said application must include business address, name of business, name of business proprietors, monthly rent, name of landlord, landlord address and a copy of the lease agreement. For owner operated businesses, said application must include the business name, owner name (if different), business address, name of business proprietor (s).
  • No reimbursement application will be approved if the landlord or the proposed occupants are in arrears on any account they may have or had with the Village of Lawrence including but not limited to utilities, Lawrence Village or Township property taxes, services rendered, etc.
  • In the event a business or individual who was previously approved by the DDA for reimbursement program and failed to occupy the storefront for the two years shall not be eligible for future consideration of the rental or owner operated subsidy program.
  1. Any Documents submitted to the DDA Board pursuant to the above guidelines found to be false shall result in immediate suspension until the next scheduled meeting of the DDA Board. If the DDA Board determines the document (s) are falsified the board shall formally revoke the subsidy funding by roll call vote. If revocation occurs the tenant or owner may not be eligible for future subsidies under this program. Application form and Reimbursement form

The Downtown Development Authority Committee consists of:

  • Dale Gribler (Chairperson)
  • David Quick (Village President)
  • Gary Barton
  • Steve Petersen
  • Don Hanson (Van Buren County Representative)
  • Theresa Stroud (Ad Hoc)
  • Kim Thompson (Township Representative)
  • Roy Cogar

See Meetings Notice for exact dates in case of schedule conflicts.

Minutes:

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