GUEST VIEW: Time for DDA to 
focus on downtown Greenville

By Daily News • Last Updated 10:20 am on Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Thomas Mall

I would like to share some thoughts with you regarding our downtown community in need.

For those who are not aware, I am the owner of a building in downtown Greenville. In addition, I served on the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board prior to the addition of the western development area to the original downtown DDA area. During those prior years the DDA was successfully focused on downtown issues.

Given the slow economic progress of the downtown area relative to the competitive Greenville West area in recent years, one must ask: “Is it time for a major change? Why are those two competitive areas combined into the same “Downtown Development Authority (DDA)?”

It makes no common sense. Each area has different resources, management issues and investment priorities. It is time for change.

The responsibility falls at the top of the pyramid, our Greenville City Council. It all starts with a long-term goal as recommended by streetscape architects years ago and a vision of our downtown as an attractive destination comparable to other successful casual downtown areas in Michigan. Those successful casual areas include 15 mph slow traffic, plenty of green park spaces, night lights, music, a variety of nice friendly sit-down restaurants and specialty stores. All this attracts people both residential and professional to the downtown. A successful downtown is also extremely important to attracting industrial businesses to the Greenville area.

Our City Council has the responsibility, in my opinion, to address the current trends by dividing the current DDA into a new Greenville Western Development Authority (GWDA) and re-establishing the old Downtown Development Authority within the original downtown DDA area perimeter. The entities that put them together can take them apart. Where there is a will there is a way!

There should be concern at the top of command in Greenville in the fact that a separate group of people in Greenville have now formed an entity called “Meet Downtown.” Those people are taking on some responsibilities belonging to the Greenville City Council and DDA. Furthermore, those same people are paying taxes to support those government functions.

It is time for you to let your City Council know your opinion.

Thomas Mall is manager of Great Lakes Properties USA LLC, which owns the Great Lakes Professional Building on South Lafayette Street in Greenville.

The opinions expressed in the Guest View do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Daily News.

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