REGULAR MEETING OF THE

MIDLAND CENTER CITY AUTHORITY,

TO TAKE PLACE ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 2010, 3:00 P.M.

COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

1.   ROLL CALL

      MEMBERS PRESENT:   Jerry Deming, David Ginis, Joe Kozuch, Clifford Miles and Christine Rapanos

      MEMBERS ABSENT:          Jon Lynch and Clinton Struthers

      STAFF PRESENT:          Keith Baker, Director of Planning & Community Development, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, Jason Geer, Chamber of Commerce and four others.

2.   APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

It was moved by Kozuch and supported by Deming to approve the minutes of the March 17, 2010 meeting.  Motion was unanimously approved.

 

3.   PUBLIC COMMENTS (unrelated to items on the agenda)

      None

4.   OLD BUSINESS

 

      Project updates

 

      a.   Northwood Marketing Project – Student Team Report

 

            The students on the team are Christian Whitehead, Megan Maxfield, Neal Sias and

            Zeina Joukhaji and they presented their strategy findings for the Center City and some

            recommendations to pull forward.

 

The team reported they have been assigned to identify target audiences and to recommend effective ways to market the Center City Authority.  The team used the Buxton Study, SolutionsforAmerica.org, and http://www.uwex.edu websites as resources for their study.  Key business issues include:

·         No target segment

·         Midland Circle and Saginaw Road areas appeal to different customers

·         Mix of businesses

·         Lack of attention

 

Industry trends and analysis include migration away from small retail stores to one stop shopping and clustering.

 

The customers are loyal, weekday oriented, and local.  This is a high traffic area, circle layout, potpourri of stores, lack of available square footage and outdated image.  The competitors include downtown Midland, Eastman Road mall area and other tri-city retailers.

 

Collaborators include the Center City Authority and the Center Business Association.  Their context includes general economic downturn and city regulations.

 

The current marketing mix includes no segmentation and a various mix of businesses.  Promotion is primarily by word of mouth, the CCA and CBA.   The root cause of the general negligence of the area is from the city, business owners, and this has lead consumers to go elsewhere.  There is also a lack of a one-stop shop.

 

A new way to market includes:

·         Midland Circle – Location of a specialty retail and dining and a less chaotic shopping experience.

·         Saginaw Road – Lunch crowd and for a shopper looking for something less chaotic.

 

Midland Circle Suggested Marketing Analysis:

·         Customers

o   Higher end merchandise and dining, modernization

·         Company

o   Embrace circle layout as something unique, recruit the right mixture of businesses and specialty stores

·         Competitors

o   Local solution to high end stores/dining provides alternative to metro areas

·         Collaborators

o   CBA, CCA and 20+ Center businesses

 

Midland Circle Suggested Marketing Mix:

·         Product and Service – specialty dining and retail

o   Migrate via sub-committee

·         Promotion – distinguish from Downtown or Mall as highest end shops in Midland

o   Newsletters in the newspaper with featured businesses

 

Saginaw Road Suggested Marketing Analysis

·         Customers

o   Lunch crowd and business professionals

·         Company

o   High traffic area, improve image, and appeal to the lunch crowd

·         Competitors

o   Downtown and Eastman Road

·         Collaborators

o   CCA and Saginaw Road businesses

·         Context

o   Economic downturn

 

Saginaw Road Suggested Marketing Mix:

·         Product and Service

o   Quick and easy lunch spot, more accessible retail locations

·         Promotion

o   Increased customer awareness

 

      Recommendation Plan

·         Short-Term Actions:

o   Newsletter – consumer focused

o   Focus on incubation locations especially in Ashman Circle area – replicate DDA incubation model

o   Recruitment of the right mix of businesses

o   Create building owners sub-committees focused on migration toward complimentary businesses

·         Long-Term Actions:

o   Modernization of the area

o   Migration for recruitment of the right businesses

 

They have discussed traffic patterns in the area with a roundabout versus the boulevard.  However, that is beyond their scope right now.  Changing the traffic patterns could improve some of their findings, but it could make some of them worse. 

 

      b.   CCA Development Plan – Public input materials review.

 

Mr. Baker presented a CCA Development Plan.  The public input process would look as follows:

·         Organizational Committee

·         Development Plan Meeting Comments:

o   Public Input approach

§  Two meetings, one public, one business owners/operators

§  Identical information

§  Different discussion anticipated

·         Format for both:

o   5  minute presentation by staff

§  What is the CCA?

§  What are we doing?

§  How are we funded?

o   10 display boards

o   Opportunity to browse, ask questions, fill out ranking

o   Available ranking and comment sheet for those who want to leave input

o   Short take home handout with FAQ style information and how to stay involved

o   Cookies/coffee

·         Public Input Meetings

o   For Business owners/operators

§  Hold meeting at Law Enforcement Center

§  Proposed date is Monday, May 24 at 4:30 p.m. for two (2) hours

o   For General Public

§  Hold meeting in City Council Chambers.

§  Proposed date is Tuesday, May 25th at 5:00 p.m. for 2 hours, just prior to the Planning Commission meeting.

 

Other issues brought up were walkability and signage.  Keith showed an example of how additional public space could be created by removing some of the building in the centers of blocks of buildings.  The city graphically took away the awning and added signage and spruced up the landscaping.  More decorative street lighting has been added.  The first boulevard created utilizes the center turn lane.  It is approximately eight feet wide with no plantings in it at this time.  Traffic would be slowed with the addition of a boulevard, thereby allowing citizens to have a better view of the district.

 

The concept of a roundabout was approved by City Council in 2004 for a roundabout in this location.  This recommendation would remain a part of the plan during any discussions held regarding this area.  Another rendition of the proposed boulevard design.  Part 1 to Rodd Street, and what that would entail was shown.  That would have some specific curb and turn movement implications. 

 

The boulevard, phase II would include Saginaw Road from the circle south. 

 

The promotion of public input meetings could be done through the following methods:

·         City’s website

·         E-mail blast

·         MGTV

·         Flyers in business windows

·         Newspaper article

·         Block captains

 

Mr. Ginis asked about the circle enhancement plan.  At the start, there are some renderings on the plan.  Is the plan to include or not to include these for the public input sessions?  Mr. Baker stated these could be included on the initial renderings.

 

In looking at some of the graphics of the boulevard, has access to the other side of the road been addressed?  Mr. Baker stated he and the city engineer have not discussed these issues.  If you have the boulevard, you have to have a “Michigan turnaround” to get over to the business on the other side of the street.  Mr. Kozuch stated there is no consistency from Manor Drive to Patrick Road, on the width of Saginaw Road.  Mr. Baker will work with the Engineering Department to come up with a conceptual design of what this might look like.  Mr. Kozuch asked what is this going to cost?  Mr. Baker stated they needed to come up with ideas before they decide what they are going to cost.  We are trying to identify what the CCA would like to see done with the area – not how much it will cost.  If it is not in the development plan, you will not be legally able to do it unless the plan is amended. 

 

Who will pay for the proposed monument signs – the business or the CCA?  Mr. Baker stated it could go either way.  Discussion was held regarding the different effects of either a boulevard with trees going down the center of the road or having nice outlawns with trees along each side of the road, which would provide more modernization to the district?  They do not want to look like something out of the 70’s once the plan is completed.  We will have one more board meeting prior to the public input sessions so the board can look at the proposals prior to the public reviews.  The proposed dates for the public input process were acceptable to the board.  Mr. Baker stated staff will communicate the proposed dates to the board and then begin to publish these dates.  In the past the city has done mailings to all the property owners in the district.  Could this be done in this case?  Mr. Baker stated he thought this could be done. 

 

Mr. Miles asked if there was an alternate plan in case everyone came out and said they do not want a roundabout? Is there another option?  Mr. Baker stated the roundabout would just be one potential project that would be included in the plan or not.  There is no other alternate design of that area currently, so far as the street network.  That was the one design that was adopted as the preferred design during the process in 2004.

 

      c.   CCA Development Plan – Public input session date scheduling. 

 

5.   NEW BUSINESS (unrelated to items on the agenda)

      a.   Recommended appointment of Scott Marquiss of Circle Auto Parts, to the Economic

            Sustainability Committee

 

            Motion by Kozuch, seconded by Deming, to appoint Scott Marquiss, of Circle Auto Parts, to the Economic Sustainability Committee.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

6.   COMMUNICATIONS

 

      a.   Economic Sustainability committee status report – Ginis

     

            Keith and Jason will communicate and find out the status of this report.

     

      b.   Organizational Development committee status report – Struthers

 

            Mr. Deming reported that the committee report is completed but he does not believe it has been prioritized.  Jason is not here to confirm this.

 

      c.   Marketing committee status report – Kozuch

 

            This committee met recently to start working on the Dinosaur Days event.  Midland Daily News will work with them on their marketing campaign.  They will do a coloring contest along with the Midland Daily News.  They are still waiting on the Midland Daily News.  Three different options for participants in that were offered and Midland Daily News was compiling the options so it would be a little cheaper if you did all three options but that has not been completed yet.  They are meeting again next Tuesday.  They have the tents lined up and Jerry Deming is working on concessions.  Mr. Ginis asked if Mr. Baker could assist with the logistics for this.  Mr. Baker requested they submit a letter stating what they want to do so far as the use of barricades, bringing in picnic tables, closing off streets, etc. and Mr. Baker would present this to City Council/Manager’s Office.

           

7.   REPORT OF THE CHAIRPERSON

 

      Last Thursday, on Earth Day, several business owners met to clean up some of the debris in the area.  This went very well and there seemed to be less debris this year.  This goes a long way to spruce up some of the areas city workers do not have time to get to.

 

8.   REPORT OF THE STAFF

None

 

9.   ADJOURNMENT

      As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Keith Baker, AICP

Director of Planning & Community Development

 

MINUTES ARE NOT FINAL UNTIL APPROVED

BY THE CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY