New faces, ideas to populate DDA board

Returning members re-appointed to other city commissions

MANISTEE — The City of Manistee’s boards and commissions will see some new faces following several appointments during this week’s meeting of the Manistee City Council.

The Manistee Main Street/Downtown Development, which had four openings prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, received three new board members — Todd Mohr, Sara Spore and Valarie Bergstrom — and returning board member Barry Lind.

Sara Spore

Sara Spore

Spore, a commercial lender for Manistee and Mason counties for Northwestern Bank, said that she was born and raised in the region, growing up in northern Mason County.

“As a lender in the region, I am even more committed to the success of Manistee County,” she said. “I believe my education, experience and desire for economic success within the community positions me well for a leadership role with the DDA.”

Spore praised the opening of the Vogue Theatre in downtown Manistee, and said she would like to see businesses open later during the summer to accommodate movie-goers.

“I think we’re on the right track,” she said. “I think we just need to do more of what we’ve got going on.”

Bergstrom, vice-president market leader for West Shore Bank, joins the board with 20 years of experience in retail and nine years of experience in human resources and marketing at the bank.

“The downtown of Manistee is the heart of our community,” Bergstrom said in her board application. “It is important that the downtown continues to prosper. I believe that I have the experience and dedication to contribute and add value to the goals of the DDA and the ongoing development of the downtown area.”

Valarie Bergstrom

Valarie Bergstrom

Mohr has served as a DDA board member for eight years in Pentwater, according to his application, and he brings 23 years of experience working with the Synergy Broadcast Group to downtown Manistee. In his application, he said he wants to contribute with his experience to improve the downtown.

“I think it’s great that we have so many people in the community who are interested in being a part of what’s happening in the downtown,” said Patrick Kay, DDA director. “I’m excited to be able to work with these three new board members, as well as the new ones we have already voted in this past year since I’ve been here. We’ve had a huge influx of new people here, and I think it’s going to be great for the downtown.”

Two of the new DDA members will replace Lee Trucks and Steve Brower, who both resigned from the board recently after serving 17 and 18 years on the board, respectively. Kay said he appreciated all of the work the two have put toward downtown Manistee.

“I hate to see them go, but at the same time, it is good to see some fresh new ideas and new blood come into the downtown,” Kay said. “I encourage both Steve and Lee, that if anytime they would like to come back or if they would like to be involved in the downtown, then we are more than happy to have them come back.”

In the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Don Kuk and Clinton McKinven-Copus were re-appointed by the council. Steve Brower was re-appointed to the city’s oil & gas investment board; Brian Garcia was re-appointed to the Ramsdell Theatre governing authority; Mark Tomaszewski was re-appointed to the parks & beautification commission and Craig Schindlbeck was re-appointed to the city’s zoning board of appeals.

Kuk is the environment, health, safety and security manager for Morton Salt, and he will serve his third term on the BRA. He said he believes in the work the commission does.

“My goal is to help the city make decisions regarding the redevelopment of property,” Kuk said. “I think Brownfield redevelopment is just a great idea, to make use of old sites after they have been environmentally remediated.”

Following Tuesday’s meeting, the city has two openings on the historic district commission, three openings on the non-motorized transportation commission, two openings on the parks & beautification commission and two spots on the Ramsdell Theatre governing board.

To apply for a board or commission position, contact city clerk Michelle Wright at (231) 398-2803.

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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