Current Issues‎ > ‎


We thought this was worth repeating. It is a comment from Former Mayor Lou Belcher posted to an article on the dotcom news blog.

I very rarely comment on current A2 issues as I had my 11 elected years of comments but there seems to be some questions on the DDA and its mission. As I, and my fellow colleagues on council, wrote the law over 30 years ago , I am in a position to give some intent and purpose to its creation. It has certainly changed missions over the years and it has changed for one reason and one reason only.....MONEY and who controls it. As it began its life, the DDA board was to be made up of "downtown" residents and business owners. The only council participation was ONE NON-VOTING liasion member. It was to be administered from the planning department....we said we did not want to create another bureaucracy outside of city hall and we were determined not let it become another core wasteland like so many other Michigan cities. Please remember the DDA began with no money,no staff,no parking responsibilty and no one paid much attention to its existance. This all changed when this "orphan" started to generate (guesswhat) MONEY. No DDA funds can be spent outside the set bountries of the DDA and the DDA cannot buy or sell real property for the city....only the city council by a 3/4 majority vote can do that. The DDA was never intended to be another government. It has so because of MONEY and the Power MONEY brings. The council has abtacated responsibilities to the DDA because it could not balance its operating budget without the DDA's MONEY. The DDA has become the ATM for the city government. Look at the make up of the DDA's a sub-committee of city council...really....the mayor, council members, former council members, county commissioners....follow the money. The DDA has worked!!! and if left alone to do its original mission it would work even better. ... the government, is only there to support the vitality of the all important core. Affordable housing and projects outside the DDA boundries should not be funded by DDA funds. Citizens....WATCH THE

AnnArborDotCom, September 18, 2012 - Affordable housing advocates make case for more funding as Ann Arbor officials put decision on hold.

About the DDA:
The Ann Arbor DDA District encompasses all or part of 67 city blocks, or approximately 271 acres. Of this total, 80 acres are public rights-of-way, 72 acres are in public use, 42 acres contain UM properties, and approximately 1/3 of the DDA District is contained within an historic district. Only 39% of the total DDA District is privately owned and has no development restrictions, such as a floodway/floodplain designation.
(from this DDA report)

For sake of comparison, Central Park in New York City is 778 acres of city-owned property (see Wikipedia).

Subpages (4): Askins v. DDA CWS History TIF