FLINT TWP. — The township’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) board is doing its homework while considering whether to form a Downtown Development Authority.
At its May meeting, the board heard a presentation from Anthony Chubb of McGraw Morris attorney’s office in Troy. He explained the process of setting up a DDA and the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to support economic development projects.
At its July monthly meeting, the EDC heard a second presentation from Attorney William Shedd of Flushing who served 22 years as the attorney for the City of Flint DDA.
Diverse presentations are being brought before the board because it will need to select an attorney, if it decides to move forward with forming a DDA, said Tracey Tucker, economic enhancement director.
Shedd spoke about some of the projects he oversaw for the Flint DDA such as a parking deck.
A DDA tries to help business owners and prospective business developers as they create plans to enhance the designated business district, Shedd said.
He spoke of a time before TIF when capital for projects was raised through private investors. That included the former Hyatt hotel and what is now the University of Michigan student center.
Contractors and funding sources reluctant to do business with the City of Flint were willing to work with the DDA, he said.
A Flint Township DDA, if it goes forward, would have authority to implement actual business development and promote business development, Shedd said.
The Authority could enter contracts, actively recruit new businesses and carefully implement taxes.
Shedd added that he would “very much enjoy” working with a township DDA and would be willing to reduce his hourly rate for the opportunity. Tucker said an attorney would be needed to draw up the legal paperwork and guide the EDC in setting up the DDA.
Previously, the EDC discussed boundaries of a potential DDA such as from Ballenger Highway, west on the Miller Road corridor, north on Linden to Corunna then east back to Ballenger Highway. Those boundaries could be modified as the process goes forward but ultimately would be spelled out in legal language that must be approved by the township board.
The DDA was described as a similar entity to the Central Business District Authority (CBDA) the township had several years ago before it was disbanded due to political pressure. The CDBA was said to be responsible for many improvements including Manwaring and Fleckenstein roads, the back entrance to Genesee Valley Center mall and Dutcher Street, the new police station on Norko Drive and service drives on Miller Road to alleviate traffic congestion.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller, attended the May EDC meeting and spoke in favor of forming a DDA.
“As we speak, our commercial corridors continue to decay,” she said. “I can’t snap my fingers and have a DDA set up.” She added that she feels she has a duty to do something.