Saturday’s Christmas Around Town drew a large and excited crowd to downtown Three Rivers.
The event kicked off what the Three Rivers Downtown Merchants and the Downtown Development Authority are promoting as the Five Golden Holiday Weekends in downtown Three Rivers.
Organizers of Saturday’s events said they were pleased with the turnout to the downtown district, the reception given to Santa and his noon arrival and the large number of people who showed up later for the annual tree-lighting ceremony.
The Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority has been given approval from city officials to be a part of the Main Street Program.
During last week’s city commission meeting, Mayor Tom Lowry and commissioners endorsed the concept. The Main Street Program, a statewide program that provides help with downtown revitalization and economic development.
Christy Trammell, DDA director, said the alliance gives the DDA access to professional-development tools applicable to boosting downtown businesses.
Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority Director Christy Trammell said she has accepted an invitation for the city to participate in a snowman-building contest.
The city’s participation in the Snowman Making Champion of the Free World event will take place at a to-be-determined site in Three Rivers on Jan. 28. Three Rivers will be one of five Michigan cities participating, joining Zeeland, Saline, St. Clair and Douglas.
Trammell said no more than 50 people at a time may be working on making snowmen at the site and judging is based on the number of snowmen built over a designated period of time. Saline won the traveling trophy last year, as its participants assembled 486 snowmen in two hours.
Saturday’s Upstairs/Downstairs Tour in downtown Three Rivers was hailed a success by event organizers and participants.
A total of seven second-floor residences above downtown businesses were open to the public. Danielle Moreland, a member of the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority and a key figure in organizing the three-hour event, said it appears more than 100 people took advantage of the rare opportunity to get a look at what it’s like to live downtown.
The walking tour, which cost $10 per person or $15 per couple, was staged as a fundraiser for the downtown merchants to continue offering free events throughout the year.
Four buildings in the Three Rivers downtown district are in line to share a $200,000 grant for facade improvements, Downtown Development Authority Director Christy Trammell reported last week.
Trammell said the upgrades will include new doors and windows and other exterior improvements, thanks to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation grant.
The buildings are at 15, 17 and 51 N. Main Street, and 132 W. Michigan Ave. Property owners who will benefit from the grant have agreed to cover a 25 percent contribution, as stipulated in the grant application.
The Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority is taking legal action to recover costs associated with roofline lights that have proven to be inoperable.
DDA members on Friday decided to pursue the matter with Lightastic, the company that sold the Christmas-style lights to the DDA. The lights were found to be not meant for permanent display, and improper wiring was used. The DDA has incurred a cost for an electrician to rectify the problems and attorney Mike O’Connor was directed to pursue the cost plus legal fees from Lightastic.
The $20,000 lights were purchased by what was then known as First National Bank.