Grand Rapids relocation | DDA set to unveil financing plan, for Ada Village redesign | Grand Rapids relocation
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DDA set to unveil financing plan, for Ada Village redesign

Content Courtesy of MLive at:

http://www.mlive.com/ada-cascade/

ADA – Are Ada residents ready for redevelopment of the village? 

Township officials plan to share their idea of how to pay for the $13 million project at a joint meeting of the Township Board and Downtown Development Authority at  7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at the township offices, 7330 Thornapple River Dr.

The funding plan calls for $6.5 million to come from the township, $3.5 million to come from corporate giant Amway, and $3 million in other private contributions. The $13 million is for the development of public facilities and infrastructure improvements.

Originally the entire project estimate was $20 million, but after review, that number fell to $16 million, said Ada Planning Director Jim Ferro. The cost was slashed again to $13 million with the elimination of suggested improvements to M-21. Cut from the plan were a landscaped boulevard and a roundabout. The eliminated items will be for “future consideration,” said Ferro.

Expected benefits of the investment are expanded shopping, services and housing in Ada village; a “walk-able” village core; and new public amenities. According to township officials, the redeveloped area is expected to draw an estimated $70 million in private investment in commercial and residential development.

The plan includes realigning streets and adjacent public space for improved traffic flow of vehicles, bikes and pedestrians; development of community spaces, including a farmers market between Headley and Fulton streets; new streets; and community green space in the center of the village and along the river. One of the proposed amenities is a performance space in the area known as The Grove, which historically was home to an annual summer festival.

The funding plan is the next step in the “community planning process undertaken last year that resulted in the vision for the village,” said Township Supervisor George Haga. More than 1,200 area residents participated in meetings to develop the plan and others contributed through social media and online. The Sept. 8 meeting will serve the next opportunity to gain public input.

“This public meeting will once again allow us to introduce how the citizens have envisioned the village, and how the township can begin to phase-in the plan with proposed financing,” said Haga. “Lots of work has gone into this. We have our eye on beginning construction next spring, but we needed funding in place first. These are big numbers for a small community, but we know the excitement surrounding this project is being felt in the community.”

Proposed funding sources to be discussed at Monday’s meeting include $1 million from existing township fund balances; $5.25 million from proposed capital improvement bonds; $250,000 from potential state or federal grants; $330,000 from a DDA millage; $3.5 million from an Amway contribution; and $3 million from a fundraising effort by Envision Ada group.

The potential DDA millage would only be levied on properties within the district boundaries and over 98 percent of the extra tax dollars will come from commercial or industrial property owners and more than 79 percent from Amway or Amway-related businesses, according to Ferro.

Bill Payne, Amway chief of staff, confirmed the company’s commitment to the redevelopment of the village. In addition to the $3.5 million contribution toward infrastructure costs, the company has agreed to assume a leadership role in the fundraising effort to add another $3 million in private contributions.

“We continue to be excited by the community’s vision for Ada Village and are pleased to play a supporting role,” said Payne. “The community’s engagement in the township’s planning process last year was tremendous. That sort of time commitment showcases the level of excitement from citizens in this great community. We’re pleased to extend our support from initially assembling land under one ownership group to speed advancement of the vision, to now offering … to cover a portion of public infrastructure improvement costs.”

On Monday, the Ada Township Board and DDA will detail the proposed financing plan for public review.

No specific action is expected; however the board could choose to vote on a resolution to begin formal steps outlined in the financing plan, according to Ferro.

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