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Grosse Pointe Park Council Extends DDA, Buys New Software

The Grosse Pointe Park council voted Monday to extend the Downtown Development Authority, to purchase new equipment that will change how to obtain park passes and to host more street fairs to draw people to the community.

Monday's City Council meeting covered a lot of turf in a short time--from commercial redevelopment strategy, park passes and public parties.

In less than a half an hour the council approved or discussed their agenda.

The council voted to continue the Downtown Development Authority's taxing power through the commonly used Tax Increment Financing Authority. A TIFA, as it's known, captures taxes from business owners in a designated area and reserves it for the DDA to use to develop or redevelop property in the district.

Council members described the fund, which currently has about $115,000 balance, has invaluable to city and an economic development tool.

The vote basically kept in place the system used for at least 15 years, one that’s brought about improvements to the boulevard on Jefferson near City Hall, a streetscape to Kercheval Avenue and other improvements aimed at attracting business owners, customers and residents to the Park.

They also continued the appointment of Michael Fikany, who was described as a city booster, outstanding Realtor and effective ambassador for the Park.

Council voted to purchase new software that will change the park pass system and parks and recreation department systems. New software purchased by the city will likely bring about passes that have photo ID and also begin an online registration process for Parks and Recreation programs, which currently are done the old-fashioned way: in person and sometimes by phone.

Additionally, the council discussed hosting more parties and public events to draw people into the city. The discussion followed Saturday's successful, After 6 on Kercheval--a movie-themed street festival with food and drink vendors, live music and a big screen that blocked off Kercheval at Beaconsfield. It drew more than 1,000 visitors, City Manager Dale Krajniak said, there are plans to host street festivals more regularly.

"We didn't advertise until late because we planned it late, probably only three weeks. We'll have another event in October…We're looking at once a month or every six weeks to draw people into the district," said Krajniak, who was responsible for hours of video of comedy skits and famous danced that played on the screen.

Each event will have a different theme. A meeting was held Monday with Parks and Recreation Director Terry Solomon to discuss what the next event theme might be.

"I think it will be as well received," as Saturday's, Krajniak said. "It will be as novel yet enjoyable as the last one."

With that the council ended the meeting to discuss pending litigation, and as the 7-10 people in the audience prepared to leave, Mayor Palmer Heenan offered: 

"Thank you all for coming. I'm sorry we couldn't entertain you further than this," Heenan joked. "But this is all you paid for."

Bob Carr August 29, 2012 at 03:19 PM
This article implies that the entire City Council meeting took less than 30 minutes? Can this be right? Does Mayor Heenan really believe of his taxpaying audience that, "This is all you paid for"? Continuation of the Downtown Development Authority and its taxing power was worth some public discussion. (Is this the same Park activity that purchased property a couple years back at well above market rates?) The same for the role and appointment of a local realtor, even one as distinguished as Mike Fikany (from whom we bought our house 20 years ago), if only because it would appear to provide him with a unique position in the market. Or did the necessary discussion and airing of views take place previously, perhaps for the private "entertainment," as the mayor puts it, of the City Council? It is important that the meetings and work of the City Council take place in the open and that public attendance at the City Council meetings be revered as the integral part of the functioning of a community democracy that it is.
Mark August 29, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Sounds efficient.
Kim North Shine August 30, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Mr. Carr, Thanks for writing. You raise meaningful points. Yes, the meeting did take place in less than a half hour, about 25 minutes. I'm sorry if the story leaves the impression that the mayor was serious about entertaining the audience. He made the comments in jest. Lastly, this was a public meeting as is every council meeting - unless the council breaks into closed session to discuss topics that are allowed by law to be discussed privately. The meeting agendas are posted on the Friday prior to the Monday meetings. There is always an opportunity for the public to comment. If you wish to comment on the DDA agreement being continued or any other topic the next meeting is in two weeks unless it is adjourned. If so, it will be posted on the city website. As for how the DDA money has been spent that is something the public is entitled to know. That info could be obtained under the Freedom Of Information Act. My apologies if you're familiar with all of this, but I did want to respond. Thanks for reading Patch.

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