DDA moves forward with interim director; sub-committee to review 2019 events

MANISTEE — The Manistee Downtown Development Authority had unfinished business to handle at Wednesday’s meeting.

New interim director Tom Kaminski and mayor Roger Zielinski were in attendance for their first meeting with the DDA, both staying informed on current issues.

Kaminski was approved as interim director by Manistee City Council on Nov. 8, with overwhelming public support, and will serve until a full-time executive director is hired. Zielinski was elected as mayor on Tuesday night by city council members.

Rachel Brooks, DDA chair, said in a recent meeting with Kaminski and executive board members, priorities were set for his first few months on the job — the first priority being the DDA’s TIF Plan.

Another priority would be to attend committee meetings, and complete followups with Spark Manistee runners-up.

“We just sat down with Tom and talked about some priorities that we thought were important over the next couple of months,” said Brooks. “What we talked about is TIF would be the first priority, and working with Thad (Taylor), the city manager, on moving that process forward.

“We also asked Tom to work on our annual state reporting that we have to do.”

Kaminski said he is still playing catch-up, trying to learn more about his new role with the DDA. However, he plans to stay focused on the goals set by the DDA board, and will be available as much as possible.

“I’ll do the best that I can,” he said.

Applications for an executive director will first be reviewed on Nov. 23.

DDA board members also discussed upcoming events.

At an Oct. 10 meeting, the DDA unanimously voted to eliminate the Frostbite Chili Crawl from the 2019 list of events.

On Wednesday, DDA board members voted to continue to hold Hops and Props, the Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend and re-add the Frostbite Chili Crawl to the 2019 list of events, with Shelley Doyan and Brooks putting on Frostbite.

Spark Manistee is also an event that will be held in 2019.

“Frostbite was asked to be removed, but we need it to be under the DDA just for the insurance purposes,” said Brooks.

In addition, members voted unanimously to establish a sub-committee to talk about other events in 2019, whether they should be held, who would chair and organize them, and report back to the board to make a final decision.

The process of adding and removing events from the DDA’s 2019 event list has been ongoing.

“I would say keep this on the agenda,” said Brooks, indicating the sub-committee would report back in January.

“More discussion is needed to come up with a direction,” said vice chair Barry Lind. “My only comment is that I think, given how you just described that, we don’t know whether these events will or will not occur, with maybe some exceptions.”

The Women’s Wine and Chocolate Walk, TGIF events, sidewalk sales and Men’s and Ladies Nights still need to be discussed. Boos, Brews and Brats will still be put on by the Manistee Elks moving forward.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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