Hearing set for Manistique DDA extension

MANISTIQUE – A date has been set for a public hearing addressing the extension of Manistique’s Downtown Development Authority.

The date was set at a recent Manistique City Council meeting.

Council passed a resolution for the hearing to take place April 22 at 7 p.m. in the Manistique City Council Chambers. The public hearing is a step in the process toward approving an amendment to the DDA’s tax increment financing (TIF) and development plan. The amendment extends the duration of the original plan to allow for financing and completion of projects described in the original plan; it also allows for new projects and activities intended to prevent property value deterioration and encourage further investment within the DDA district. To accomplish these projects, the amendment extends the life of the original plan to terminate upon the collection of the last taxes levied for the year 2042. It will also reduce the bonding limit to $8 million.

“One of the misconceptions that folks have had is that these TIF dollars are collected throughout the whole county, but this is not the case,” explained Manistique City Manager Sheila Aldrich, as the money is instead collected from residents within the DDA district.

Aldrich said the DDA, which has been in existence since 1988, is set to expire in 2018. However, an ongoing marina project, which falls within the DDA’s jurisdiction, will require borrowing approximately $2 million, therefore requiring an extension of the DDA to ensure they will be able to pay off the loan.

“The DDA needs to show they are going to be in existence long enough to pay back the loan,” explained Aldrich, of the extension.

The DDA received a Michigan Waterways Commission grant requiring a 50 percent match for the $4.22 million marina project, which is to be completed in phases. Phase one was a river and harbor dredging project completed in 2010.

Phase two includes construction of broadside docking, fuel and sanitary pump out facilities, and a new service building, which includes a harbor office, restrooms, showers, storage, electric, water and fuel facility controls. Phase two costs approximately $2 million, and requires the DDA to borrow $1 million, said Aldrich.

The final phase of the project will include replacing binwalls, constructing new floating piers, and some parking lot improvements, which will also cost approximately $2 million and require the DDA to borrow $1 million.

The amendment also identifies the marina project and several other projects the DDA has planned, including land acquisitions to acquire waterfront property for extensions to the boardwalk, improvements to the car ferry dock historic site and to construct a full-service campground on the waterfront. It also highlights a strategic marketing campaign to benefit retail and general marketing of the downtown district.

Aldrich said letters will also be sent to the taxing units and residents of the district to inform them about the public hearing.