Downtown development continues in Three Rivers

DDA hosts strategy development session

THREE RIVERS — On Thursday, July 13, the Michigan Main Street Program facilitated a Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority (TRDDA) board meeting by inviting TRDDA board members, business owners, and other individuals closely associated with the downtown to participate in an open discussion of the downtown’s direction.
The three-hour meeting served as the second of three strategy development sessions for the TRDDA.
According to David Vago, Executive Director of Three Rivers DDA/Main Street, the first meeting was held to develop a theme for the downtown, and the final two meetings will consist of crafting a strategy.
“The first [meeting] was held late winter. The purpose was to identify a specific theme to direct downtown efforts towards,” he said. “Now that we have identified the theme, which is arts, entertainment, and culture, the next two conversations are about how we actually turn that into something.”
Patrice Martin, a specialist in creating design strategies for Main Street development, acted as the meeting’s instructor and discussion leader.
Martin said constructing a strategy is a process that starts broadly and is, in time, narrowed down to a “finer point.”
“Our purpose is to refine your selected transformation strategy into a defined short-term vision. I know you have a lovely long-term vision, but we are going to pull it back to a three- to five-year time frame. We are going to define what that is going to look like and specifically how it relates to your transformation strategy,” she said.
After creating a short-term vision, Martin said it is important to establish goals for the downtown.
“From there we are going to define some broad and continuous goals,” she said. “Your goal session will be a reflection of how your current programming transitions into your current goals and how your new programming may be defined by the goals we put up here today.”
One of Martin’s focal points was the sense of place that downtowns have, and specifically the sense of place that exists in downtown Three Rivers.
“People want to be in spaces that have a sense of place. Having a sense of place and capitalizing on your cool architecture and buildings is an asset that those generic commercial districts do not have,” she said.

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