Downtown Ortonville Vision 2013 – 2018

A Vision Statement declares an organization’s goals, ideally based on economic foresight, intended to guide its internal decision-making. The Ortonville DDA held a visioning workshop in the fall of 2013.  Members of the community came to participate in the process of creating a vision for 2013 – 2018.  It is written as if it were a report at the end of 2018, listing all the events and projects accomplished.  This is the current vision:

By 2018, downtown Ortonville is recognized as a thriving commercial district where residents and visitors find exciting, independent shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.  New development and new business continues to open in the downtown area.

Working closely with the Village, the ODDA has worked hard to bring a new sewer system into downtown. This long-sought project has fundamentally changed our downtown for the better and brought more than a dozen new or expanded businesses into the heart of our community. These new businesses have significantly increased the Village and Township tax base, created new jobs, a cleaner creek and created a positive buzz about our downtown and our future.

We have worked closely with MDOT to study the feasibility and funding for placing handsome new gateways to downtown along M-15, and a roundabout so that drivers can access South Street coming from both North and South.  Installation has begun for the old-fashioned street lamps that extend out to M-15.  The downtown creek-side boardwalk is complete and heavily used by walkers and bikers.  Colorful banners adorn each street light pole and these are changed seasonally. The district pops with color from the flower baskets sponsored by WoJo’s Greenhouse and seasonally planted decorative flowerbeds installed by the ODDA.  Seasonal decorations add to the festive atmosphere. The sidewalk cafes, newly connected trail system, weekly seasonal farmers market and monthly special events keep the sidewalks and parking lots full virtually year-round.

Customers walk our downtown during the week, as they visit Village Hall, the library and post office, use the walking and biking trails, run errands or go to appointments with the fine professional service providers in town.  On weekend days, downtown will be crowded with area families, enjoying our fine compliment of independent shops and restaurants.  Both Friday and Saturday nights are hopping, as our downtown has become a small restaurant destination with more than a half dozen casual and more formal dining establishments.

The Friends of AMOS celebrated its fifth year in 2018, and has been consistently raising more funds from a variety of sources each year for downtown projects.  The district is highly managed with the ODDA taking responsibility for all aspects of the customer experience including event planning, and its traditional role in assuring that the downtown is sparkling.

Downtown Ortonville’s historic buildings continue to be well maintained and celebrated. We are, in fact, celebrating our 170 year anniversary this year!  Downtown is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which has spurred reinvestment and restoration of several historic properties.  An architectural review board was created when the downtown was designated as a local landmark district.  Our façade grant program continues to be helpful. New, appropriate uses are found for storefronts when the rare vacancy occurs. When a storefront does become available, there are several potential tenants because the ODDA maintains a listing of interested local and national retailers.  The ODDA is the “go to” place for those who wish to locate or expand downtown.

By 2018, the Village has acquired key parcels to create more space for retail, and successfully offered the Pond Street parking lot for mixed-use development.  The Village also created several new parking lots in downtown.  The recent spate of award-winning new construction compliments the existing historic buildings, bringing vital new uses to the district.

The ODDA works closely with merchants to promote a handful of high quality and creative retail events each year that appeal to the variety of market niches in the district. We celebrate our creek with a huge weekend festival yearly.  The ODDA collaborates with many other organizations that host regular special events throughout the year. The ODDA has invested in an extensive communication program including both traditional and new media that regularly markets to more than 5000 area residents about the exciting events, shops and activities happening in downtown.

The 2018 ODDA budget is a quarter of a million dollars raised from the DDA and from a highly diverse number of revenue sources. There is superb Board and staff leadership.  More than 250 volunteers on the roster provide leadership for and mount the award winning special events and retail events.  Over 10,000 volunteer hours were expended in 2018 and partnerships with the area’s civic and religious organizations are highly developed and beneficial to both parties.  The yearly sponsorship calendar is eagerly anticipated and merchants vie to become premium sponsors of our events.

The ODDA continues its long-standing, productive and cordial working relationships with the Village, Brandon Township School District, Brandon Township and The Ortonville Historical Society. All participated in a village wide branding campaign that has put Ortonville on the map.

By 2018, Downtown Ortonville has become a truly vital shopping district for the community and area residents while preserving our friendly and casual small town atmosphere.