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New director looks forward to future

Leadership change at Marquette DDA

From left, outgoing Marquette Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Mona Lang watches as incoming MDDA Executive Director Rebecca Salmon takes her oath of office with Marquette City Clerk Kris Hazeres at Marquette City Hall. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Downtown Development Authority)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Downtown Development Authority’s new executive director, Rebecca Salmon, officially started her position as of Monday with the retirement of long-time MDDA Executive Director Mona Lang at the end of September.

Salmon, who was previously the assistant director for the MDDA, served the organization for 10 years before becoming executive director and looks forward to her future with the MDDA.

“Over the past decade, I’ve seen the growth of the organization and the downtown and am proud to have been a part of its transformation. In the leadership role, I look to continue our forward progress in the revitalization of downtown, along with the DDA Board and staff, the City of Marquette, Downtown business and property owners, and valued partners,” Salmon said in an email. “We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation as well, whose ongoing support has inspired valuable public and private investment in downtown. I look forward to forging ahead with new projects, initiatives, and partnerships.”

Salmon’s time in Marquette and tenure with the organization have served her well in preparing for this new role, she said.

“As a 25-year Marquette resident and two-time NMU graduate, I have focused my career on the promotion and development of the Marquette community, and downtown in particular,” she said. “My time with the MDDA has provided me the opportunity to grow professionally in the field of downtown development and form valuable partnerships with others who are equally passionate about the betterment of Downtown Marquette and the city we call home. I am very proud to be a part of this community and look forward to the future of downtown.”

There are also many new things on the horizon, Salmon said, as the MDDA was awarded a $30,000 technical assistance grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The grant will be used to create a comprehensive downtown plan to “serve as a guiding document moving forward, identifying strategic recommendations and steps to implementation,” Salmon said.

The MDDA will be working on the plan with with a consultant firm, SmithGroup, which will evaluate a variety of proposed initiatives.

One is compiling recent studies — such as the Third Street Corridor Sustainability Plan, Baraga Avenue Place Plan — to “create a cohesive vision for Downtown Marquette.”

Other initiatives to be evaluated for the plan include: updating the 2013 parking study, analyzing parking management practices, and conduct a feasibility analysis of building a new parking structure downtown; identifying redevelopment sites throughout downtown and finding the best approach for funding services and improvements in the Third Street Corridor, Salmon said.

The work on the plan is anticipated to start this winter, Salmon said.

“We anticipate engaging stakeholders in input sessions and presenting our final plan to the public upon completion,” she said. “This plan will help to address some of the challenges we currently face and provide a clear vision for the future of Downtown Marquette.”

For more information on the MDDA, which was established in 1976, visit downtownmarquette.org or call 906-228-9475.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.