Overview of DDA Projects & Impacts
In 1982 the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was created as a vehicle for urban renewal and since its inception the DDA has been an influential catalyst behind the revitalization of downtown Ann Arbor.
As was intended by the Michigan 1972 “DDA Act,” the Ann Arbor DDA works to prevent deterioration of the downtown business district, promote economic revitalization, and encourage historic preservation. During its 30-year history, the Ann Arbor DDA has participated in hundreds of projects, and helped leverage over $334 million in private reinvestment as a result.
The following chart indicates the status of specific current and planned projects. DDA Projects List (PDF)
Accomplishments Have Included:
- Increasing and improving the downtown parking system. Since 1982 the DDA has added over 1,700 parking spaces to the public parking system including three new parking structures (Ann Ashley, Liberty Square and Library Lane). In 1992, the DDA took over management of most of the City’s parking system, including its seven parking structures, with the goal of addressing extensive long-term deterioration and meeting the community’s goal of a self-sustaining downtown parking system that meets the needs of downtown stakeholders. As parking system managers, the DDA has completely rebuilt or significantly repaired all public parking structures, it has improved customer service, utilized demand management strategies to extend demand throughout the public parking system, and has committed itself to a robust ongoing maintenance program.
- Improving the pedestrian experience. The DDA has transformed the appearance and walkability of much of downtown Ann Arbor with streetscape improvements that repaired and in some cases redesigned sidewalks. Through these improvements the DDA installed hundreds of pedestrian-scale light fixtures, trees, and bike hoops. As a result, downtown is a much more pedestrian-friendly and attractive environment.
- Encouraging mixed-use developments. The DDA has provided grants to enhance the public benefit of several important downtown projects, including One North Main, Tally Hall/Liberty Square, Liberty Lofts and Village Green. These projects mix residential with commercial or public parking and have done a great deal to foster a 24 hour/day, 7 day/week downtown.
- Financial contributions to affordable housing. The DDA is committed to encouraging a wide diversity of downtown housing. The DDA has partnered with many local housing providers including Avalon Housing, First Centrum Corporation, Dawn Farm, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), contributing over $3 million to safeguard existing and create new housing units affordable to individuals and families earning below the area median income.
- Participation in efforts to encourage downtown businesses. The DDA regularly partners with the four downtown area associations and Think Local First, and has funded several cooperative promotional efforts and area studies. The DDA is also a member of SPARK and the Chamber of Commerce.
- Participation in the getDowntown program. Since 2001 the the DDA has allocated a significant amount to fund the getDowntown program and in particular, the cost of go!passes. More than 6,800 employees from over 500 downtown businesses currently have go!passes and the use of this pass greatly reduces parking demand and traffic congestion.