Downtown Ferndale By the Numbers
(Crystal A. Proxmire, 1/28/2011)
Despite the harsh economy, Downtown Ferndale continues to see growth and investment, according to a presentation by the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority (DDA) at the Jan. 24, 2011 Council Meeting.
Christina Sheppard-Decius presented “Downtown Ferndale by the Numbers” to let council and residents know about the projects and developments over the past year.
In 2010 there were 40 new businesses opened, including these which were featured in The Ferndale 115 News: No Pins Required, Hybrid Moments, Green Thumb Garden Center, Rainy Day Hobbies, Treat Dreams, Woodward Avenue Candy Shop, Designer Resale Boutique, Signature Tattoo, Painting with a Twist and Queens Dreams.
Unfortunately Queen’s Dreams was also one of the businesses that closed in the past year. Club 9 was another of the 14 businesses that closed or relocated in 2010. Overall there was a net increase of 26 businesses.
Sheppard-Decius also reported 237 new jobs, with the net total being 204. She also spoke about the DDA’s Build Grant program that assists business owners with improvements to their sites. Since 1994, they have been able to award $459,474 in grants. $40,000 of that was in 2010, with funds going to Diablo’s, Painting with a Twist, Driven and Assagi.
Another big project for 2010 was the DDA’s Wayfinding Project, to bring more signage in 2011. Sheppard-Decius said that the new signs are on their way, and will be installed once the weather is warm enough. The project (see- https://oaklandcounty115.com/2010/09/30/wayfinding/) means that come April, Ferndale will have 32 new signs, including 25 directional signs, 2 information kiosks, and 5 historical markers.
The City of Ferndale spent $20,000 towards the project, which is 8% of the total cost. The $120,000 Wayfinding Grant was matched with $77,254 from the DDA, $35,000 in volunteer hours, and $10,000 from the Woodward Avenue Action Association.
The DDA is funded by tax dollars, generated when there is an increase in commercial property values within a designated district. This Tax Increment Financing requires the DDA to reinvest those locally paid tax dollars into the district. The DDA also receives funds from a 1.3 mil levy (up to 2.0 mils) and from a variety of grants and sponsorships from the public and the private sector.
As the economic restructuring engine for the district, the DDA funds entrepreneur initiatives, maintenance and landscaping of the downtown, streetscape improvements, building rehabiliation grants, networking opportunities, community forums and events such as the Holiday Ice Festival.
Find out more about the DDA, and also find a directory of Downtown Ferndale businesses at www.downtownferndale.com.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story listed Chris Hughes as the presenter. It was actually Christiana Sheppard-Decius. Sorry for the mix up! We also added a more detailed explanation of the DDA funding than the original article gave.