As part of its mission, the DDA works to promote economic growth by combining public and private resources and initiatives, and partnerships that together help drive improvements and economic development for downtown Alpena, and, therefore, for the community as a whole.

Downtown Alpena has many programs to support, grow and attract business in Downtown Alpena:  Following are brief descriptions of some of these programs:  1)Façade Grant;  3) Neighborhood Enterprise Zone; 4) Rental Rehab Grants;  6) Downtown Gift Certificates


The Alpena Downtown Development Authority  established its Façade Improvement Grant Program to encourage exterior improvements to existing buildings within its specific downtown DDA district in a manner that preserves the unique historical characteristics of those buildings.  While it recognizes that it cannot mandate the specific exterior improvements that property owners make to their buildings, in order to encourage adherence to certain design standards desired by the DDA to preserve the original architectural characteristics of our downtown buildings, the DDA determined that it could provide interested businesses with a financial incentive to do so in the form of a façade improvement grant. Properties located within the legal boundary of Alpena’s downtown district engaging in retail, commercial, entertainment or office services shall be deemed eligible for grant funding.

The DDA façade grants programs will award grants under the program in any amount requested from a minimum award of $500.00 up to a maximum award of $ 5,000.00.  Applicants for a grant must provide a matching amount to their grant request based on a dollar for dollar basis.  An applicant’s proposed improvement project total can exceed $ 10,000.00; however the DDA’s participation will still be limited to a maximum amount of $5,000.00.

For more information please contact Lesslee Dort
at 989-356-6422, or


The City of Alpena and the DDA have worked together to initiate the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ).  The NEZ  is within the boundaries of the DDA District.  The purpose of this zone is to encourage property owners to develop and rehabilitate residential housing within the downtown district by offering tax abatements on new or rehabilitated residential units.
How it works

  • The property owner must file an application for an NEZ certificate before a building permit is issued.  The City has 60 days for City Council to take action to approve or deny your request.
  • After filing your request, you are ready to get the permits and start construction.
  • If your application is approved, you will be eligible for tax abatements on the improved part of your rehabilitated facility or part of your new facility.
  • Applications are available at the DDA office, 235 W. Chisholm, City Assessor’s Office at City Hall, or on the City’s web site at
  • For more information, call Lesslee Dort ,DDA Executive Director at 356-6422 or Jeff Shea, City Assessor at 354-4252


The City of Alpena has been successful in receiving MSHDA grants for rental rehab in Downtown Alpena.  They will apply again next year, and if successful, will have up to $35,000 in grant money per apartment to be renovated in downtown.  Please call Adam Poll, City Planner at 989, 354-1771 for more information, or email


The DDA has started a new program called “Business Support Service” whose purpose is to give assistance, upon request, to any downtown Alpena business owner who feels that his or her business is at risk or is concerned about its direction.

We have put together a group of ten professionals, including fellow business owners, attorneys, accountants, bankers and economic assistance specialists (“counselors”) who will typically act in business support teams of two or three in order to give assistance on a strictly confidential basis to any concerned business owner who requests it.  The specific make-up of the team will depend upon the nature of the business and its problem.  At the owner’s option the assistance may include interviews, on premise visits, review of business records, and delivery of advice in the form of a written assistance plan.  We ask that the owner refrain from seeking individual advice because the counselors act strictly as a team.

The program is purely voluntary and confidential
For more information, please call Lesslee Dort, 989-356-6422

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