Dowagiac City Manager provides update on economic developments

Published 8:58am Friday, June 13, 2014

According to City Manager Kevin Anderson, the developments that occurred within the city over the last few years did not happen overnight or by a stroke of luck.

Pointing out the new dental clinic being built across the street from his office in city hall, Anderson said that the city had been priming that location for development for years by purchasing nearby property when it became available.

When the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department needed a new building to allow for additional dentists for their dental operations, the city had just the place for it.

“We have really tried to look at things with a really long arc of time,” Anderson said. “We ask ourselves, ‘what is best for the next decade? What do want to see done? What would be best for the community over the next decade?’”

Anderson gave an update on Dowagiac’s recent economic developments to a group of local
business professionals assembled on the lower level of the Dowagiac Area History Museum Wednesday
evening, as the program of this month’s Business After Hours, hosted by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.

While the city has seen growth over the last few weeks in the downtown area with the opening of Refine Women’s Consignment and Earl’s BBQ, the city manager said he was equally excited about the recent surge of activity along the M-51 corridor. Construction is expected to begin soon on two new businesses, an O’Reilly Auto Parts next to Honor Credit Union and a dance studio behind Shopko.

“You don’t have to go very far to see the investments that the Pokagon Band has been making along that corridor, and the traffic that is coming from that,” Anderson said.

The city manager also gave the audience an update about the growing athletic fields at Russom Park.

On top of the playground equipment being put up this weekend, the school district will begin to use some the facilities, Anderson said. In the fall, youth leagues will also begin using the new soccer fields.

“It’s the kind of community park we are so excited to be a part of,” Anderson said.

When asked about the status of the movie theater being built on Front Street, the city manager said that builder Ken Allen has slowed progress on the project due to staggered grant funding.

“I talked to him just yesterday. He said he’s still a couple months out yet, but he’s still looking at this calendar year to get the theater up and running,” Anderson said. “That will be a great draw to the downtown.”

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