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The DDDA Story

Our Story

Guided by five key transformational strategies, the Dearborn Downtown Development Authorities (DDDA) collaborate to create a vibrant Downtown Dearborn experience for all by stimulating economic growth, providing an environment for innovative retail diversity, creating walkable spaces and places to congregate, and hosting events that showcase Dearborn’s cultural vitality. By staying focused on these five key transformational strategies the community has been able to prioritize investment of time, energy and funds.

Downtown Dearborn’s main street Michigan Avenue connects east to west downtown from its shared boundary with Detroit on the east to Inkster and Dearborn Heights on the west, increasing the economic vitality of the whole. Its pleasing, highly walkable clusters of century-old storefonts combine with new retail and office spaces to provide an array of shopping, dining and entertaining options with year-round appeal and an authentic vibe.

East Downtown Dearborn drone photo

Through its collaborations, the DDDA are partnering with key stakeholders and assets to bridge the gap between East and West downtowns and their historic attributes across
the physical, social and psychological barriers that have divided them. The DDDA are physically transforming Michigan Avenue to connect key centers of activity to the rest of the community, as
well as improve the area between the downtowns to reinforce Michigan Avenue as the main artery of the City. The people making this happen are residents, business owners, community leaders and people just like you—passionate, dedicated individuals who work every day to turn the tide in their communities·catalyzing reinvestment, creating jobs, and fostering pride of place.

Residents and businesses desire a place they are proud to call home that everyone is talking about. We envision a vibrant regional destination of business innovators offering a variety of attractions, access and housing where all are welcomed to celebrate in its rich tapestry of people, cultures, ideas, food, art and history. We are stronger working together and sharing our collective message of all the amazing assets that Dearborn has to offer.

In January 2016, the DDDA completed a Downtown Strategic Plan for Downtown Dearborn based on the City’s Master Plan with over 100 community members, partners, government and DDDA board leadership. Its key goals were to develop a cohesive main street – Michigan Avenue, increase the regional destination appeal of Downtown Dearborn, and lay the groundwork for the long-term vision. As part of that Strategic Plan, a successful branding initiative was completed in 2019 that gathered a vision for the city as a whole and the downtown through a multi-faceted community outreach approach. The DDDAs then adopted a memorandum of understanding in 2019 that set forth how the two DDAs would collaborate to create a vibrant Downtown Dearborn experience for all. Since 2020, a Downtown Vision Plan has been in development which re-engaged key stakeholders from the previous two planning initiatives, as well as new community-wide input. This Vision Plan brings together goals from previous planning efforts, the vision from the branding plan, the memorandum of understanding and other studies for a unified vision that further grounds a 20-year strategy for Downtown Dearborn. The draft plan is now available for review, and a final adopted plan is expected in early 2023.

To meet this vision, the DDDA continues to cast a wide net of volunteers, funding and supporters, while setting up a long-term organizational structure that will assure that the vision and strategies carry on as the community evolves. To do this, the DDDA are following the Main Street Approach to revitalization, a grassroots economic development organizational framework for managing downtowns. Five standing and advisory committees made up of volunteers of the DDDA Boards, businesses, residents and stakeholders are the driving force for its community engagement, planning and implementation of action plans. This is where your input and elbow grease is needed. Committee applications are available online.

So what do we do? Everything from landscape and maintenance of the downtowns, holiday and seasonal decor, events, marketing and promotions, economic analysis, business recruitment and retention, infill development and property rehabilitation, infrastructure and streetscape improvements, mobility connections, public and greenspace enhancements, and just making Downtown Dearborn an amazing place to live, work and play. Check out our projects and programs online.

The East and West DDDA meet jointly monthly to oversee and authorize the investments and action plans of the DDDA, which are open to the public to attend and agendas can be found on the website. In addition to this, guided by and created by Public Act 57, the DDDA is transparent and accountable for its economic development efforts, programs and policies with annual required reporting that is required that also can be found on the website, as well as two annual meetings for public informational purposes and feedback. The DDDA is funded primarily by Tax Increment Financing which is the captured increase of taxable value of the properties within the DDDA TIF boundaries over the base value since the inception of the DDDA (1982 WDDDA & 1983 EDDDA). The DDDA also raises friends and funds from local and corporate partners to help support its initiatives. Go here to check out ways to contribute, and if you’re looking for any of the DDDA plans, check out the resource section on the website.

Not sure where to start? No worries, contact us and we are happy to help.