Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Oct. 6, 2010): In its main business, the DDA board approved a $218,050 grant from its housing fund to The Shelter Association of Washtenaw County for improvements at the Delonis Center on Huron Street. The money will pay for new washers and dryers, lockers and chairs, an emergency generator, energy conservation measures, medical equipment and software. The board is still weighing approval of more than $113,210 for installation of solar panels and for computer hardware. By board policy, the DDA housing fund receives an annual $100,000 transfer from TIF (tax increment financing) revenues.
Another main topic of discussion was transportation, which came in the context of recent transportation committee talks with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. The discussion with AATA dealt with the possible return of a downtown circulator service [formerly The LINK] and improved service to Ypsilanti, as well as an initial study of bicyclist habits in the downtown area. Related to bicyclists, the board heard from one downtown merchant during public commentary about dissatisfaction with the “art” bicycle hoops, as one example of the DDA’s lack of success in considering the end user in some of its decisions.
The board also mulled over a possible restructuring of its committee structure – currently the board has a transportation committee, a partnerships committee, an operations committee, and a capital improvements committee.
Restructuring those committees is being considered in the context of the possibility that the DDA could begin to take a more active role in development of city-owned surface parking lots downtown. That more active role is one possible outcome of the ongoing city-DDA discussions about the parking agreement under which the DDA operates the city’s parking system. The new structure under discussion would add an economic development and communications committee, while merging the operations and capital improvements committees.