DDA comes to rescue in downtown loan snafu

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- City officials have averted a potential disaster caused by miscommunication between the City and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
At a special Downtown Development Authority meeting held this morning, officials of that group said the purchase and re-development of the property at 219 N. Front St., which will be the new Riverfront Cafe, was contingent upon the new developers receiving a $60,000 grant from the City of Niles Industrial Park Revolving Loan Fund.
However, the city has learned the approval for the grant from the state agency was apparently given in error.
The developers of the Riverfront Cafe, which is scheduled to open next month, are Tammy Watson and Gerri Klinck.
The grant was going to be used to repair the building, which had been vacant for a number of years, DDA officials said this morning.
The city was assured by Michigan Economic Development Corp. that the funds from the Industrial Park Revolving Loan Fund could be used to help renovate the building.
However, when the request for the final disbursement was made, the city was told by MEDC that permission to proceed had been given in error.
That was after Watson and Klinck had spent the $60,000, in good faith. At this morning's special meeting, the DDA approved a resolution to approve a $60,000 loan to Watson and Klinck.
She said the DDA feels Riverfront Cafe is important to the redevelopment of the DDA district.
The proposed solution, however, should in no way be construed as setting a precedent for future developers. The DDA authorized the use of 80 percent of projected tax revenue received from the Riverfront Cafe to pay for the $60,000 loan. The loan is subject to City Council approval.