Main Street’s end doesn’t mean end of Scottville, officials say.

May 19, 2015
Heather Landis, Scottville Main Street Manager

Heather Landis, Scottville Main Street Manager

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Scottville City Commission passed a resolution Monday night officially severing ties between the city and the Michigan Main Street Program. The program will end effective June 30, the end of the current fiscal year, due to a decrease in funding. Representatives from Scottville Main Street say the program actually probably would have ended a year or two sooner had it not been for a computer input error at Mason County Equalization Department. See related story here.

Carla Mayer, chair of the Scottville Main Street committee, spoke during Monday’s city commission meeting.

“This program has made it possible for a lot of good things to happen,” Mayer said. “Being a Main Street community has had a positive effect on downtown. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in this town.”

The Main Street program is technically also Scottville’s downtown development authority, an area of the town that is able to capture specific tax money that would normally be sent to other entities, in order to help improve the central business district. The DDA businesses also pay a millage.

“The DDA will move forward to support our businesses,” Mayer said. “Regarding this situation, no money was lost, stolen or mismanaged by Main Street or Scottville city personnel. This was a result of a computer input error. In reality it was a windfall because there was a delay in the fact that we weren’t able to continue as a Main Street program with a full time manager.”

The end of the program will mean the end of the Main Street manager program, a position that Heather DeVries has held for four years.

“To me it comes down to gratitude,” DeVries said. “Is the situation disappointing? For me, certainly, of course it is. That doesn’t take away from the fact that I am grateful for my time here, for the friends I have made, the people who have surprised me, and for the tough times that tested my resolve.

“This transition to a traditional Downtown Development Authority (DDA) isn’t the end. Scottville doesn’t know how to give up and there are too many people in this community who care for that to ever happen.

“For those who speak of how the town is dying, that it is dead, they don’t know Scottville.  In my almost four years here the town has never been more alive, charged with positive energy, businesses opening, young entrepreneurs taking a leap of faith, and continued investment from our established businesses.  I’m grateful for those who can see the potential in this downtown, who are willing to step up and help out.

“Is everything perfect?  By no means would I say that.  Were things better ‘back in the day’? Maybe. But we aren’t talking about yesterday, we are talking about now.  Our problems pale in comparison to the issues people face every day all over the world, we should all be grateful for that. 

“The biggest problem facing the Scottville DDA right now is that we need help to get things done, like any community.  The flowers don’t plant themselves, Summerfest and Harvest Festival don’t just happen – it takes an army.”

DeVries said the Community Clean Up takes place this Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are needed.

  “It’s a great afternoon to be outside, get to know your neighbor, and have lunch in the Pocket Park.  Can’t make it to Scottville?  Downtown Ludington will be doing its Community Garden Painting Day at the same time on Saturday as our Community Clean Up.  Busy on Memorial Day weekend and need a little more time to schedule a day to volunteer?  Breakfast on the Farm is July 11, call MSU Extension and put your name on the list to volunteer.  There are countless opportunities to get involved in Mason County, if you love it, show it.  Building your community is hard work, and it’s better to be a part of it than apart from it.

“One memory I will always hold dear from my time in Scottville is when I once thanked Bonnie Pfefferle for her help with an event and she remarked, referring to her cancer diagnosis years before, “I’m not even suppose to be here so whatever I can do to help I’m grateful for.”

The DDA is currently in need of two more board members. Those wishing to be part of the program should contact the City of Scottville at 231-757-4729 or [email protected].

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