Lake Orion DDA executive director discusses proposed Lake Orion Lumberyard project

Lake Orion DDA executive director discusses proposed Lake Orion Lumberyard project

A guest column by Molly LaLone, Lake Orion DDA executive director
What do we need? MORE PARKING! Where do we need it? DOWNTOWN! Who wants it? WE DO! When do we want it? NOW!
If there were a cheer squad for downtown matters, this would be the cry heard through downtown Lake Orion, complete with green pom poms and side splits from those agile enough. Parking is the reason the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority first started looking at the Lake Orion Lumberyard property.
According to a 2022 parking study, we are providing just enough parking. A recommendation from the study is to increase the physical parking supply within the next three to five years. Clearly, in our mature, densely built village, the DDA needs to get creative to find the space for more parking. When the Lake Orion Lumberyard property became available, the DDA board immediately approached the sellers. The DDA has been completing the due diligence process.
When the land is purchased, the DDA plans to clear it, clean it and park it.
Then, it is the plan to create an attractive, showcase entrance to the village. The property will be used to attract visitors by creating visible parking, visible activity and beautiful and functional assets.
• Clean up Blight:
o Remove the buildings which are falling down,
o Create welcoming signage inviting visitors to downtown
o Streamline entrances to create a safer intersection at M-24 and Atwater
• Event Space:
o When not in use, can be used for parking
o When in use, will keep the rest of downtown parking open
• Address environmental issues to keep them from leading to bigger problems in the future
• Enhance the existing non-motorized pathways leading into the downtown area
How will the DDA pay for the project?
1. With village council approval for the $5 million bond proposal
a. Paid for with funds already being collected
b. Current revenue is 2.3 times more than the expected annual debt payment. This means it will not cost village residents any additional taxes
2. With other funding opportunities
a. Seeking grants from county, state and federal sources
b. Considering private/public partnerships for a few mixed-use buildings
3. What about other village projects?
a. DDA can only fund projects within its district
b. 75 percent of new revenue will go towards village-directed projects within the district.
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3 responses to “Lake Orion DDA executive director discusses proposed Lake Orion Lumberyard project”

  1. WHAT, NO nas’s or yas;s??? come on, at the very least YOU might get a chance to blow the whistle on this train to no where PEOPLE it’s YOUR MONEY. Every time some thing in the Village NEEDS to be repaired, or replaced or improved, guess what, NO MONEY, lets do it with a SAD, a SAD here, a SAD there, every where a Sad-SAD what the heck, i hear they the Village can’t even pay their lawyers bill after he raised his pay scale how about a SAD, no gas for the cops ?, let’s SAD it. (sounds like the Quaint Village of ORION has a SAD problem) Then there’s the DDA (bond issue may not pass, NO SWEET, just swing a SAD, problem solved,

  2. (my thoughts) What is wrong with this PLANNING COMM.??? you already have a parking lot for the Down Town PROPER, BUILD ON THAT. TRY a three tier structor with a COVERED WALK WAY to the SAGEBRUSH, (always wanted to open that 2nd floor so you could sit and eat, but when B.M. is finished with their con-doe’s/office/retail building along the lake shore, that’s ALL you will be looking at) with covered stairs to access the down town stores (if there are any still open for business) on BROADWAY(no need to walk in rain, snow, summer heat, easy access to cars, parking meters, charging stations for EV’S, roof of 3rd tier(open for parking or SPECIAL EVENTS) no need to spend MORE MONEY on a new parking lot(just a make work project $$$$, but as before, ask us no questions and we still won’t answer or even tell you no lies.

  3. As of the April 18, 2023 DDA meeting, there is still no real plan for this project, just talk. No costs, and the only budget is the DDA desire for a taxpayer funded $5 million bond that will cost us almost $7 million over the next 18 years.
    What will that give us? So called “free” parking which is not in any way free when it costs the taxpayers $7 million.
    Our taxes will not go up because of this, but the DDA will no longer be able to fund many of the programs they have provided in the past. Taxpayer funds will not be available for streets, sidewalks, sanitary sewers, police services, and so on. The Village Manager has already suggested higher taxes in the form of special assessments to cover these currently unfunded government expenses. Special assessments do not require a public vote, so the public has no say on any of this, and it seems no say on how our tax dollars are spent.
    The issue of the $5 million bond and DDA spending will likely be on the agenda for the upcoming Village Council meeting on April 24. I highly recommend everyone find out more beyond the highly biased and incomplete information from the DDA Executive Director. Then attend the meeting and speak up. It is your tax dollars being spent. If you think a $7 million parking lot and a lot of promises is the best use of your money, then you might be in favor of the DDA plan.

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