EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—The Downtown Development Authority met Wednesday to review the Downtown Development plan and what has been done up to this point.

Zak Aubert, the chairman of the DDA, said in 2018 the DDA hosted a series of public meetings involving a workshop-style atmosphere.

“We invited those that lived in the downtown or even had an interest in the downtown of Menominee to come to a series of a couple of meetings. There were some held at Schloegel’s, some at the library; basically there were large maps of the downtown laid out on tables, and participants had an opportunity to vocalize what it is that they liked about the downtown and what might be weaknesses of the downtown. It was a brainstorming session of what they’d like to see in the downtown and where they’d like to see it,” he said.

The feedback from those participants were given to an external consultant hired by the city, and those comments along with the consultant’s professional opinions went into the development of the Downtown Development plan, which included an expansion of the downtown district’s boundaries.

“The original boundaries of the downtown were expanded from the 1st and 10th intersection specifically out to the 10th and 10th intersection through a series of meetings with our DDA and proposed to the City Council for review. City Council did pass the expansion district. The reason why the DDA wanted to expand this district is so that the downtown would have higher visibility to those travelling through our area who would normally stick to the highway,” Aubert said.

Aubert said the expansion did have to go through a millage process, so the properties in the expanded area are going to see their taxes increase and be used to increase the property values along the corridor. “My taxes are going up $170, and some of the residences are going up $30 or $40; it’s real money, but it’s going to increase the property values along that corridor, and most importantly it’s going to give us an opportunity to give a good first impression to those people that don’t know who we are or what we do or that we have a beautiful downtown,” he said.

Aubert said the busiest intersection of the U.P is the intersection of 10th Street and 10th Avenue, and from a marketing position he said this is an area that he would like to capitalize on for the city, “not only for the downtown but as a whole to generate revenue.”

He said the intersection gets about 22,000 cars per day passing through, and said the downtown area could contribute $150,000 to $250,000 to the downtown’s bottom line over a 90-day period just with better signage. “If you get 1% of those cars to go straight at that intersection because they see something of interest, they get to the downtown and they spend, whether they go to the ice cream store, or the restaurants, or wherever it is that gets them excited. If they spend$20 per car, at 1% of those cars per day, that’s about $250,000 in a 90-day period that is taxable revenue for the city,” he said.

He said Mayor Jean Stegeman had made an observation that Menominee’s downtown is an industry of its own, and as such Aubert said this is a good opportunity to market the downtown industry more effectively.