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Ferndale DDA's open invitation to plan downtown's future gets good response

The Ferndale Downtown Development Authority held its annual planning meeting Monday, a meeting that goes beyond the city officials and insiders and welcomed anyone who uses or cares about this Oakland County downtown that borders Detroit.

The idea was to let them "put on paper their ideas, dreams and envisioned possibilities" for downtown Ferndale's future.

This year's meeting attracted about 50 guests whose thoughts and ideas contribute to the DDA's "ongoing process of planning ahead --  for tomorrow, next month, next year and beyond," the invitation read.

"The annual meeting gives us a chance to see what we've accomplished and is essential to helping us chart the course for the year ahead, says Cristina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of the Ferndale DDA and a certified Main Street Manager.  "From here, we  develop work plans which give us the ability to track our progress throughout the year and determine what we've completed and what we still need to do."

"This process is also very all-inclusive. It is a great opportunity to have a say in what happens in your downtown," she adds.

Besides local business owners and employees, the DDA board and committee members and directors from other DDAs learned about the planning process that goes in maintaining Ferndale's reputation as a downtown that's eclectic and progressive.

A survey given to the general public prior to the meeting identified a top goal or priority. It was to "educate and engage the community on the need for positive collective action in managing Downtown Ferndale and its need for growth and development," explains Chris Hughes, communications and marketing manager for the Ferndale DDA.

That priority matched the meeting attendees who said the number one challenge for downtown is parking issues. The DDA is trying to work with the city to alleviate some of the parking problems as the spaces are owned by the city.

It comes as the city makes its annual assessment of past goals, sets new ones and refines and identifies new objectives aimed at maintaining Ferndale's success.

Source: Chris Hughes, communications & marketing manager, Ferndale DDA
Writer: Kim North Shine
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