Representative presents overview of Main Street Program

ROGERS CITY — A representative provided a brief overview of the Main Street Program at the Rogers City Community Development Authority meeting Thursday. Michigan Economic Development Corporation Main Street specialist Leigh Young attended the meeting to discuss the program, City Manager Joe Hefele said.

“The presentation lasted about 40 minutes, and though CDA members and staff asked a few questions during the presentation, there wasn’t any discussion afterward,” Hefele said.

Leigh explained the process of how to become involved in the program, and the steps communities take to advance through the various levels of it, Hefele said.

“Rogers City reached the associate level of the program earlier this decade but halted things prior to advancing beyond that level because it was unable to financially support the full-time Main Street director that would have been required,” he said.

The Michigan Main Street Program is a statewide program and encourages towns to revitalize their community through their historic and community assets. The 2016 Michigan Main Street Report states the program takes a four-point approach. These points focus on design, economic restructuring, promotion and organization.

Leigh’s presentation, therefore, was a refresher for some veteran CDA members and new to those appointed to the board after Rogers City ceased participation, Hefele said.

She stressed to join the program it is not possible without substantial buy-in and support from the community and the various stakeholders within its boundaries, Hefele said.

“The Rogers City CDA will have approximately $30,000 in annual debt payments coming off the books after this fiscal year, and thus will have funds available to it for the first time in awhile,” he said.

The CDA and staff will update the downtown development plan in the near future. In the process there will be discussion of those funds and where they are most needed, which made the presentation on Main Street pertinent, Hefele said.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.