Serving as the caretakers of Downtown Traverse City, the DDA works with businesses, property owners, and residents to maintain a vibrant city center that is economically healthy. 

Our staff lives here and works tirelessly to serve our community. Selfishly, we do it for you, but we do it for us too! Creating a family friendly environment that is full of tradition and memory making is what makes Downtown Traverse City a truly special place. Through community support, we will continue careful and progressive planning and stewardship for the heart of Traverse City.  

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. 

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. 

DID YOU KNOW?*

1.  Downtowns are leading economic drivers for their cities.

Despite their small citywide footprint (representing on average 3 percent of citywide land), downtowns are economically in-demand and lucrative districts, warranting continued investment. Downtowns represent 11 percent of citywide assessed land value (averaging $8 million an acre), 30 percent citywide employment, 40 percent of citywide office space, and anywhere from 13-64 percent of the citywide tax revenue. This means that for every 1 percent of citywide land, downtowns contribute approximately 10 percent of citywide tax revenue. On average, the 13 downtowns contributed:

  • 13 percent of total city income tax revenue
  • 14 percent of total city sales tax revenue
  • 19 percent of total city property tax revenue
  • 45 percent of total city hotel tax revenue
  • 64 percent of total city parking tax revenue.

Because of downtown’s productivity, every dollar invested has the potential to generate great returns. To maintain downtown’s economic impact, cities will need to continue investing there, both to cushion the loss from shrinking federal funding and to compensate for the evolving nature of tax revenues.

2.  Downtowns are for everyone.

Part of downtowns’ value proposition is their diversity, inclusivity and open-mindedness. Downtowns are positioned to be highly inclusive places given their access to opportunities and essential services for all users. Downtown is home to an average of:

  • 13 percent of the city’s foreign-born population
  • 35 percent of the city’s non-white population
  • 30 percent of the city’s middle-income population

The question remains: How can we create inclusive plans and policies to keep downtowns welcoming places to all community members? Cities should seize the opportunity to embrace a collaborative approach, engaging community cooperation, public and private leadership, thoughtful planning, and a regulatory climate that encourages strategic, place-based development designed to build community wealth, inclusion and accessibility.

3.  Downtown’s vibrancy is reflected in its high density.

Which supports a variety of retail, infrastructure and institutional uses. These attributes offer mutually-reinforcing benefits to the region. Downtowns represent 38 percent of the citywide residential growth, 44 percent of the city’s share of hotels and 16 percent of the city’s retail sales and businesses. Downtowns also have nine times more retail sales than their citywide counterparts.

5.  Downtowns are resilient.

A downtown’s size, value, proximity, density, diversity, mixed-use nature, and geographic location are powerful resiliency assets. Downtowns consistently and significantly rank higher than their cities when it comes to Walk Score, Bike Score and Transit Score (85-90 compared to 52-57). Downtowns also average 6 parks per square mile, have 75 percent commercial land use, and have higher rates of non-single-occupancy vehicle commuters compared to citywide figures (43 percent compared to 28 percent). These assets equip downtowns to more readily adapt to potential economic, social and environmental stresses.

*meetingsofthemind.org