Opening Front Street & more

Learn more about the modifications to our Downtown for the summer of 2020

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TIF Informational Meeting

August 21, 2020

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Online Farmers Market

Sign up to enjoy our Farmers Market digitally! Pickups on Wednesday evenings.

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The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA), or affectionately referred to as Downtown Traverse City, includes the DDA, the Downtown Traverse City Association (DTCA), Traverse City Parking Services (TCPS), and the Traverse City Arts Commission (TCAC) and is unique in terms of organization and operational funding. 

The DDA manages the DTCA, TCPS, and TCACA. Aside from improvements in financing and communications, the merger of these organizations has had the added benefit of creating clear roles. Listed below are the major areas of responsibility.

reated in 1979, the DDA is involved in retail and office recruitment efforts, public improvements such as streetscapes, partnerships with Traverse City Light & Power to bury utilities, and planning and development issues. The DDA also works with local, state and federal partners to accomplish goals set forth by the City of Traverse City Capital Improvement Plan. Funded through a 2 mil levy and management contracts, the DDA serves as the conduit for funds through contracts and employs all downtown staff. Public improvements are funded through two Tax Increment Financing plans, TIF 97 and Old Town TIF. Here, you may find a map of the DDA District. The DDA also operates the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market. The organization is governed by a twelve member board appointed by the City Commission. For a list of current DDA board members click here.

Though public/private partnerships and public funding tools such as TIF, the Traverse City DDA has made a transformation of our city center.

Downtown Traverse City Association

Downtown Traverse City Association

The DTCA, a voluntary organization of merchants and other businesses, was organized in the 1960’s and serves as the marketing arm for downtown. In 1990, the two organizations signed a management agreement merging their offices and staff. Aside from improvements in financing and communications, the merger has had the added benefit of creating clear roles for the two organizations. Listed below are the major areas of responsibility. For information on all things Downtown TC, visit

Focusing its attention on marketing and promotion, the DTCA oversees all communication pieces including a monthly newsletter, monthly broadsheets, various promotional brochures, and a downtown website. In addition, the organization supervises over 20 annual events downtown, such as Friday Night Live, Downtown Art Walk, Traverse City Restaurant Week, and Shop Your Community Day. Responsible for retention efforts, the DTCA has an employee discount card program for downtown office and retail workers, and conducts numerous workshops and training sessions for business managers, owners and employees. A Downtown Gift Certificate program has been in place for many years. Promoting local spending, the program generates over $683,000 in sales annually. The DTCA collects dues from members on an annual basis and the membership elects a nine member board which meets monthly.

Traverse City Parking Services

Since 1991, the DDA has managed the city’s parking system, including Northwestern Michigan College, the Larry C. Hardy and Old Town Parking Garages, street meters, and various parking lots throughout Downtown Traverse City. Here, you will find more information on where to park with a user friendly interactive map and information on permits, parking violations, and more.

Traverse City Parking Service

TCPS is a City enterprise responsible for public parking in downtown and other areas of the city. Funding does not come from the city’s general fund. Instead, TCPS operates out of a separate enterprise fund that is self-sustaining. Traverse City Parking, through the DDA, operates numerous city-owned and leased parking facilities mainly in downtown Traverse City.

To contact the Downtown Traverse City Office call (231) 922-2050 or email info@downtowntc.

DDA Mission

Collaborate with all stakeholders to provide a world class downtown that is active, thriving, and inclusive. Through investments in sound, sustainable infrastructure and civic amenities, the DDA corrects and prevents deterioration in the Downtown District to encourage historic preservation, to create and implement development plans and to promote economic growth. 

DDA Vision

Traverse City is America’s most inclusive, family-friendly fresh water destination – featuring world class dining and shopping, a growing economy, entrepreneurial opportunity, and all season recreation. 

The DDA has been at work for decades making Downtown Traverse City great. There’s much complete, but we’re just getting started!

This is a collection of projects and movements the DDA have been a part of since our organization’s inception. Stay up to date on our current projects that are underway too!  


DDA established by the Traverse City City Commission


DDA sponsors first phase of river walk along the Boardman River


Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market begins and later management is assumed by the DDA


City establishes TIF 2 Development Plan for redevelopment of the Ironworks property


DDA receives Coastal Zone funds for riverwalk project

DDA receives funds for Pedestrian Bridge over the Boardman River in the 200 block of Front Street


DDA works in conjunction with Traverse City Light & Power and Chamber of Commerce to bury power lines in the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Front Street


Front Street streetscape and parking project approved by DDA and City Commission, and bonds issued for implementation


DDA and DTCA sign joint management agreement for marketing promotions and special events

Wellington Street project completed 

DDA agrees to manage City Opera House


DDA commissioned Hyett-Palma, Inc. Downtown Retail Market Analysis completed

DDA begins to manage the parking system for the City of Traverse City.


$10,850 in improvements made to the Farmers Market

DDA makes parking lot and signage improvements

DDA receives grant for acquisition of land for Visitor’s Center


$833,301 Union and Cass streetscape project awarded, $224,823 of TIF funds pledged by the DDA


DDA establishes the Union Street Sidewalk Art Project

DDA sells land to Traverse City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for Visitor’s Center for $1


Additional bike racks and benches purchased and installed

Eighth Street project, Union to Lake Street, completed, funded by TIF


TIF 97 Development Plan approved by City Commission

River’s Edge development agreement approved

Evaluation of the Park Street Deck project begins


DDA provides analysis of riverwalk wall and alley extension for State Theater project 

Initial utilities work completed for River’s Edge project 

$37,400 authorized for design and engineering work related to the alley behind the State Theater project

City Center streetscape improvements completed


Rivers Edge West Riverwalk and Cass Street Streetscapes


Much of the downtown is designated as an Historical District, preserving the character of the area


Third major street overhaul for DDA – State Street Streetscape, funded by TIF and a grant from MDOT


Farmers Market Plan adopted; new rules for farmers market include emphasizing area growers


Completion of $8.3 million in parking deck and utilities improvements in 540 space Larry C. Hardy Parking Deck.


DDA installs pedestrian directories


“Your Bay, Your Say” waterfront master plan planning process involves the community in connecting the downtown to the waterfront


TIF 97 Plan amended to help fund City Opera House renovation


Downtown Market Analysis completed assessing retail, office, and housing markets

The DDA hires local firm Corbin Design to implement a comprehensive Wayfinding signage program


After 18 years of managing the City Opera House, the DDA “spins off” responsibility to a non-profit, the City Opera House Heritage Association

DDA replaces holiday lights with energy efficient LED lights


DDA applies and receives designation from the American Planning Association making Front Street a Great Street of America


The $7 million Old Town Parking Deck with 520 spaces is completed and opens just in time for the Traverse City Film Festival and to serve the employees and customers of the Old Town District.


DDA begins accepting food assistance programs at the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market


DDA assumes cost for roof replacement at the City Opera House from the TIF 97 fund.

Parking lot signage is replaced to compliment the Wayfinding system

84 street trees are replaced in the DDA District


DDA contributes $1,000,000 from the TIF 97 fund to the bay front redevelopment project. Dollars were also allocated to improvements made to the Pedestrian Tunnel at Cass St.


DDA installs a complimentary WiFi system within the district

A community wide survey is conducted in preparation for the redevelopment of the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market


Drafted by the DDA, a Public Art Ordinance is adopted by the City of Traverse City and the Traverse City Arts Commission is created.

Streetscapes are installed along Cass near the Old Town Corners development

The DDA creates in an official capacity, the Farmers Market Advisory Board of Directors


A new website is launched for Downtown Traverse City.

The Pine Street Pedestrian Way is completed and opens to the public. A pedestrian bridge across the Boardman River was a goal of the DDA’s to create to a better connection from Front Street to the Warehouse District.

Garland Street is reconstructed and designed as a woonerf, a Dutch term meaning shared street, pedestrian friendly and low speed. 

The Old Town TIF plan is approved and adopted by City Commission.


Public access to the Boardman River at the Uptown Development is constructed and open.

Park Street is reconstructed to include streetscapes on the west side of the street and a crosswalk is installed mid block. 

A mid block crosswalk is installed on the 300 block of E. Front Street.

The Bryan Crough Memorial, a public art piece that the DDA helped fundraise with a grant from Rotary Charities, was installed at Lay Park.


A Strategic Plan for the next 5 years was adopted by the DDA Board of Directors and annual work plan was developed.

Public Restrooms were constructed on Park Street.

The Lower Boardman River Leadership Team was formed.

The Parking Advisory Sub-Committee was formed.

A $1,000,000 grant was awarded from the Traverse City Rotary Club toward the development of Rotary Square, a civic square in the heart of Downtown TC.

Reconstruction of Lake Avenue with sidewalks, improved crosswalks, street trees, and sanitary and storm water improvements was completed.


Launched a new websites, including DDA, DTCA, Parking, and Lower Boardman River.

Launched Destination Downtown.

Entered into agreement with City of Traverse City to manage the Traverse City Arts Commission.

Installed the Then & Now Project throughout Downtown Traverse City.

Installed the Mezinaadin Exhibition in the Clinch Park Tunnel.

Launched a Residential Parking Permit Program.

A joint effort with the Traverse City Police Department to hire a Community Police Officer.

Invested $16,000 into new holiday lighting.

Governance (Our Board)

The DDA is governed by a 12-member Board appointed by the Mayor with concurrence by the City Commission.

The meetings take place at the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman, Traverse City, MI 49684. Click here for the meeting schedule.

Leah Bagdon McCallum (2022) Chair
(517) 944-0376 (home)

Jim Carruthers (2021) Mayor
(231) 922-7768 (home)

Collette (Coco) Champagne (2020)
(231) 218-1200 (bus)

Steve Constantin (2021) Secretary
(231) 499-4953 (home)

Scott Hardy (2020) Treasurer
(231) 492-5898 (bus)

Debbie Hershey (2020)
(231) 350-2144 (home)

T. Michael Jackson (2021)
(231) 922-9232 (home)

Jeff Joubran (2022)
(231) 922-1600 (bus)

Pete Kirkwood (2023)
(231) 421-8977 (bus)

Richard Lewis (2023)
(231) 922-2902

Steve Nance (2023)
(231) 947-0191 (bus)

Gabe Schneider (2022) Vice Chair
(517) 449-6453 (bus)

Interested in emailing the DDA Board?