Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority

frankenmuth dda color

In  1986, the City of Frankenmuth created a Downtown Development Authority to provide for the economic well-being of its commercial core.  Enabled by Michigan Public Act 197 of 1975, the DDA is empowered to plan, implement and promote economic growth within its district. The downtown development district  includes the development-ready areas of Main Street (M83) and Weiss Street.

Motivated by the Frankenmuth 2000 Hospitality Master Plan, the DDA invested more than $12 million in streetscape improvements including new lights, burial of overhead wires, improved sidewalks, landscape and pocket parks and provision of public amenities including public benches.  Funding came from a variety of sources including grants and use of the municipal finance tool, Tax Increment Finance (also known as TIF).  In place since 1994, , the TIF is a unique municipal finance tool that can fund public improvements without raising taxes.  With TIF in place, the City was able to fund streetscape and public space improvements identified as critical to long-term growth of Frankenmuth’s core industry (tourism). TIF is restricted to use within the boundaries of the DDA district.

The availability of TIF funds has also helped, the City acquire a variety of federal and state grants supporting the development of multiple downtown development district projects including the development of Frankenmuth River Place, construction of a new storm water pipeline enabling the development of the Spring Hill Suites and improved water service and reliability and new sanitary pump station for south Frankenmuth in cooperation with the Zehnder's Splash Village expansion project .  In 2013, the DDA fully supported a Community Development Block grant request by the City to fund the replacement of the main sanitary sewer distribution system serving Frankenmuth's south side.  Construction on the new sewer is scheduled for Fall 2013.  Local funding (as match for the grant) from the project will be paid by the DDA's TIF Fund. 

Today, the DDA continues to work to achieve the goals of the Frankenmuth 2000 Hospitality Master Plan as well as to spearhead initiatives supporting a healthy local economy.  Through ongoing investment in the streetscape and in other areas throughout the commercial area, the DDA serves as ombudsman with local and new business, providing staff and materials to investigate and support new investment opportunities in the district.  Recognizing the importance of partnerships, the DDA works with local businesses and with the assistance of other local, regional and state partners to achieve economic improvements for the district.

The DDA employs a full-time staff person to develop, execute and implement projects and programs of the DDA and provides staffing services to its sister organization, the Economic Development Corporation. Properties located within the DDA district pay an additional one mill towards support of this office.

The DDA is uniquely positioned to connect business with government, civic groups with community projects and funders with users … creating partnerships that will build both a prosperous commercial center and highly desirable, sustainable residential community.

The  2013 Annual DDA Report highlights activities of the past year.

The 2013 Annual TIF Report highlights the history and activity of the Tax Increment Finance district.

Members of the DDA include: Wayne Bronner (Chairman/Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland), Al Zehnder (Vice-Chairman/Zehnders of Frankenmuth),  Dave Johnston(Treasurer/Bavarian Mall), Art Loeffler (Mayor Pro-Tem/Star of the West),Leone Koester (Koester Builders/Treasurer), Brian McLeod (Frankenmuth Insurance), Randy Bierlein (Schaefer & Bierlein), Lyle Davis (SpringHill Suites and Fairfield Inn), Tom Erdman (Nuechterlein Electric), Mary Anne Hiles (Worden Interiors), Judy Zehnder Keller (Bavarian Inn Lodge) , Bill Mossner (Resident), and Willy Rummel (Rummel Studios).

Contact Us

240 W. Genesee Street

Frankenmuth, Michigan 48734

989.652.3430 extension 120

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