Our History

This is Our Story

The DDA has been at work for decades making Downtown Traverse City Great. There's much complete, but we're just getting started!


This is a collection of projects and movements the DDA have been a part of since our organization's inception, but we currently have additional projects underway. Learn more about the DDA's current projects here.

DDA & Ongoing Projects

1979

DDA established by the Traverse City City Commission

1982

DDA sponsors first phase of river walk along the Boardman River

1984

Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market begins and later management is assumed by the DDA

1985

City establishes TIF 2 Development Plan for redevelopment of the Ironworks property

1986

DDA receives Coastal Zone funds for riverwalk project

DDA receives funds for Pedestrian Bridge over the Boardman River in the 200 block of Front Street

1988

DDA works in conjunction with Traverse City Light & Power and Chamber of Commerce to bury power lines in the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Front Street

1989

Front Street streetscape and parking project approved by DDA and City Commission, and bonds issued for implementation

1990

DDA and DTCA sign joint management agreement for marketing promotions and special events

Wellington Street project completed

DDA agrees to manage City Opera House

1991

DDA commissioned Hyett-Palma, Inc. Downtown Retail Market Analysis completed

DDA contracts with City to manage parking system.

1993

$10,850 in improvements made to the Farmers Market

DDA makes parking lot and signage improvements

DDA receives grant for acquisition of land for Visitor's Center

1994

$833,301 Union and Cass streetscape project awarded, $224,823 of TIF funds pledged by the DDA

1995

DDA establishes the Union Street Sidewalk Art Project

DDA sells land to Traverse City Convention and Visitor's Bureau for Visitor's Center for $1

1996

Additional bike racks and benches purchased and installed

Eighth Street project, Union to Lake Street, completed, funded by TIF

1997

TIF 97 Development Plan approved by City Commission

River's Edge development agreement approved

Evaluation of the Park Street Deck project begins

1998

DDA provides analysis of riverwalk wall and alley extension for State Theater project

Initial utilities work completed for River's Edge project

$37,400 authorized for design and engineering work related to the alley behind the State Theater project

City Center streetscape improvements completed

1999

Rivers Edge West Riverwalk and Cass Street Streetscapes

2000

Much of the downtown is designated as an Historical District, preserving the character of the area

2001

Third major street overhaul for DDA - State Street Streetscape, funded by TIF and a grant from MDOT

2002

Farmers Market Plan adopted; new rules for farmers market include emphasizing area growers

2003

Completion of $8.3 million in parking deck and utilities improvements in 540 space Larry C. Hardy Parking Deck.

2004

DDA installs pedestrian directories

2005

"Your Bay, Your Say" waterfront master plan planning process involves the community in connecting the downtown to the waterfront

2006

TIF 97 Plan amended to help fund City Opera House renovation

2007

Downtown Market Analysis completed assessing retail, office, and housing markets

The DDA hires local firm Corbin Design to implement a comprehensive Wayfinding signage program

2008

After 18 years of managing the City Opera House, the DDA "spins off" responsibility to a non-profit, the City Opera House Heritage Association

DDA replaces holiday lights with energy efficient LED lights

2009

DDA applies and receives designation from the American Planning Association making Front Street a Great Street of America

2010

The $7 million Old Town Parking Deck with 520 spaces is completed and opens just in time for the Traverse City Film Festival and to serve the employees and customers of the Old Town District.

2011

DDA begins accepting food assistance programs at the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market

2012

DDA assumes cost for roof replacement at the City Opera House from the TIF 97 fund.

Parking lot signage is replaced to compliment the Wayfinding system

84 street trees are replaced in the DDA District

2013

DDA contributes $1,000,000 from the TIF 97 fund to the bay front redevelopment project. Dollars were also allocated to improvements made to the Pedestrian Tunnel at Cass St.

2014

DDA installs a complimentary WiFi system within the district

A community wide survey is conducted in preparation for the redevelopment of the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market

2015

Drafted by the DDA, a Public Art Ordinance is adopted by the City of Traverse City and the Traverse City Arts Commission is created.

Public access the Boardman River at the Uptown Development is under way

Construction of the Pine Street Pedestrian Way begins

Streetscapes are installed along Cass near the Old Town Corners development

The DDA creates in an official capacity, the Farmers Market Advisory Board of Directors


2016

A new website is launched for Downtown Traverse City.