Greenville’s Downtown Development Authority aims to enhance downtown

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:33 am on Thursday, December 13, 2012

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) brainstormed ideas to not only develop the downtown, but get more people to the downtown area.

During Tuesday’s meeting, DDA members spent a majority of their time stating their opinions on bettering the downtown area.

One thing they agreed on and want to make sure happens is developing an area for the community to be able to gather for events.

“In my opinion, we should start small and add to it,” said Secretary Deb Huch, owner of Huch’s Fine Jewelry.

Originally suggested at the November meeting, members thought it would be a good idea to start with moving the farmers market from Veterans Park back to the downtown area.

Huch suggested during Tuesday’s meeting to start with the farmers market by having it be in an area that allows for expansion in the future.

Linda Huckleberry, owner of Huckleberry’s Restaurant, agreed and said the DDA should look at options the city has available for a place to have events, like the farmers market.

She noted there is a vacant lot for sale at the corner of M-57 and M-91 along with vacant buildings through the downtown that could be transformed into a usable space for such events.

“It’s a lovely idea bringing the farmers market back downtown,” said Gae Wolfe, co-executive director for the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s the perfect time for it.”

Wolfe liked the idea of doing the project in phases, and added although an open-air structure was an idea that was suggested in past meetings, something as simple as beautifying an area into a park setting could work just as well.

Other suggestions from DDA members included using Cass Street or the parking lot between Cass Street and M-57 on the east side of Lafayette Street for events and to include an awning of the area to protect from weather.

The DDA would use the same area for events and activities, such as showing movies, recreational events and more.

Some of the things the members would like to see besides bringing the farmers market back to the downtown is somehow connecting the Flat River and the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail to the downtown area.

The DDA will take the next month to develop more ideas and, at the next meeting, will start to work on developing a definite plan.

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