NILES DDA MAIN STREET
What is Niles Main Street?
The City of Niles’ Main Street Initiative (formerly the Downtown Development Authority) was created in 1978 by the implementation of Ordinance No. 251 of the Niles City Code of Ordinances. The Niles Main Street was given all the powers and duties prescribed under the State of Michigan Public Act No. 197 of 1975 which read in part, " . . . an act to provide for the establishment of a downtown development authority; to prescribe its powers and duties; to correct and prevent deterioration in business districts; to encourage historic preservation; to authorize the acquisition and disposal of interests in real and personal property; to authorize the creation and implementation of development plans in the districts; to promote the economic growth of the districts; to create a board; to prescribe its power and duties; to authorize the levy and collection of taxes; to authorize the issuance of bond and other evidences of indebtedness; and to authorize the use of tax increment financing." The Niles DDA became the Niles DDA Main Street in 2001.
Niles Main Street has many functions, which it carries out under the discretion of and for the City of Niles. Niles Main Street is made up of nine (9) area citizens and business professionals who each serve 4-year terms on the board. They are charged with facilitating the redevelopment plan of the downtown area. This plan is considered a "work in progress", and was revised in 1988 and again in 1998. The plan includes many interrelated concepts and ideas. The following is a summary of some of those redevelopment plans and ideas, many of which have already been completed and others that are on going.
Increased residential density in downtown Niles
- Increased density in the downtown area is beneficial to the City in a number of ways. The increased population provides an improved customer base for downtown business, supports economic expansion and an improved tax base.
- The residential population in the downtown area additionally provides "eyes on the park" to increase security and provide for a safe ‘"pedestrian-friendly" environment in the newly developed Riverfront Park and the rest of the downtown area.
Development of publicly and privately owned land
- Assisting the City with the purchase and sale of real properties from/to both public and private developers securing a redevelopment mindset and economic conditions that facilitate the continual redevelopment of the area.
- Niles Main Street may enter into a limited partnership with a developer of real property. Niles Main Street may retain ownership of the project while the developer acts as the general contractor to build and market the property.
Increased Commercial Development in downtown Niles
- Increased commercial development strengthens the city’s tax base and draws more people to the downtown area.
- Commercial development is achieved through the construction of new commercial buildings and the renovations/reuse of buildings that are presently vacant, or economically underutilized.
- Niles Main Street also has a marketing director to assist with the sale/lease of vacant properties in the downtown area.
- Improved streetscapes help to make the downtown area more pedestrian friendly and a more "walkable" area.
- Streetscape improvements have included wider sidewalks, benches, lighting, stone flower planters and improved landscaping.
- A program of parking lot maintenance and improvements has been in place since the mid 80’s. On going programs that include sealing, striping and landscaping city parking lots to make it easier for visitors to park and just walk the downtown area to enjoy shopping. All city parking lots provide free parking.
- Improvements to all intersections including, widening, striping and other changes to make intersections safer and friendlier.
- Recent improvements to the streets and roadways have been made by changing the street striping format and traffic lanes to slow vehicles and make it easier for shoppers to park on the street.
- Most streetscape improvements are facilitated as joint, coordinated cooperative efforts between the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City’s Engineering, Street and Utilities departments, and Niles Main Street.
- Riverfront Park is the only city park in the Niles Main Street district. Niles Main Street has served as the lead developer of Riverfront Park and works with the Park and Recreation Board in a shared, ongoing responsibility to address maintenance and programming issues at the park.
- The project has spanned many years from the original property acquisition in the late ‘80’s and new features are added on a regular basis to attract citizens and visitors to the downtown area.
- Riverfront Park and its features are entirely handicapped accessible. It is recognized as a recreational jewel by citizens and visitors that enjoy it’s varied venues. Among those visitors have been the National Canoe and Kayak Association.
- Riverfront park sports a marked walking/biking trail, a fishing pier, picnic areas, an amphitheater and a large children’s play area to name just a few of it’s amenities.
- A new boat dock in the park and on the St. Joseph River was completed in 2001.
These are just some of the many responsibilities of Niles Main Street. To learn more, contact the Niles Main Street’s Director of Marketing and Administration by email or by telephone at 269-687-4332. The Niles Main Street fax number is 269-687-6332.
You see an ice carver hard at work. . . It's a Niles DDA Main Street event. If you see Dragon Boats racing down the St. Joseph River or . . .
If you see Mrs. Claus and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer waving as you pass by, it's a Niles DDA Main Street event. If you see wonderful flowers downtown or . . . If you see others enjoying a summer day at the French Market, stop by and enjoy it too cause that's a Niles DDA Main Street event.