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Alpena City Council, DDA Discuss Downtown Expansion

Downtown Alpena has seen a number of expansions over the past couple of years.

Now, another expansion is being proposed, and it’s up to the Alpena City Council to agree to it or not. It was discussed at the most recent city council meeting, but no concrete steps were taken.

“We just had a discussion about the expansion and what the county had offered toward the expansion,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Cindy Johnson.

The county proposed a 30-year expansion to the downtown district, and the council would vote to expand the boundaries. The proposed expansion would reach to Chisholm Street and Johnson Street, with offshoots to capture some of the businesses along the way.

“A DDA expansion opens them up to state grants that normally they wouldn’t have access to, and with those grants you can rehab buildings and do bigger projects,” said Johnson.

Mayor Pro-Tem Johnson is supportive of the expansion, but knows it only works if all sides can participate.

“I think there’s always a way forward to find common ground that everyone can agree on and make this happen,” she said.

The next step is to have more discussion and dialogue on how they can work together to make it happen.

“How can we make this happen?” said Johnson. “My hope is that everyone comes to the table, and through dialogue we find a way to make it happen, and I think that’s possible, I really do, because I think it would be great for Alpena to have the expansion.”