Nonprofit to replace DDA by 2024

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By Kelsey Block
The Holt Journal

A nonprofit is getting its start in Holt. Holt Community Connect was created to continue the work of the Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, which is set to expire in 2024.

“We’ve reinvested more than $100 million in this community. There are lots of things that wouldn’t be here without us,” DDA Executive Director Carl Howard Haas said. Throughout its history, the DDA has been involved in projects such as the construction of the trail system, the senior center and the industrial park.

The DDA is supported by taxes from Ingham County and Delhi Charter Township. According to Haas, the original charter expired in 2001. After that, Haas said it was rewritten to state that every five years, the DDA would give back 20 percent more of its funding to the organizations from which it collects taxes. “Every five years, our financial ability shrinks 20 percent,” Haas said, adding that funds will be completely exhausted in the next 10 years.

Haas said that Holt Community Connect is currently running parallel to the DDA and that the two organizations are working together closely.

“During the budget process, it became very apparent to me that a lot of nontraditional government services that are enjoyed by the citizens would have no sponsoring body when the DDA was gone,” Haas said. “(Holt Community Connect) was created, giving it nearly all the same powers the DDA has, except it doesn’t have the power to capture taxes.”

Marcy Bishop Kates, executive director of Holt Community Connect and a member of the DDA board of directors, said the organization is growing quickly. She added that she’s sad to see the DDA end, but is glad something will take its place.

“I think we have to be really flexible,” Kates said. “What we’re going to be doing over the next year or two is working with the DDA and thinking about their vision for the future and making sure everything we do will serve the community best.”

Jeff Butcher, recruitment and retention coordinator for Delhi Township Fire Department, said he’s going to be working with Holt Community Connect to set up quarterly meetings for local businesses and organizations in an effort to promote collaboration. Butcher said the fire department and the nonprofit also have plans to work together to create a network of volunteers.

“I think it’s exactly what the community needed for a while. The group will kind of bring all these different civic organizations together and provide a lot of services they’re going to need and be a crucial part for volunteers in the future,” Butcher said. “They’re going to fill a critical void that will be left when the DDA leaves. They’ll add in and implement a lot of things.”

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