Downtown Development Authority

Meeting Times

4th Wednesday of every month at 8:00am

For meeting minutes, Click Here.


Henry L. Brown Municipal Building
1 Grand Street
Coldwater, MI 49036
City Council Chambers
People Enjoying the Day in Downtown Coldwater
We are a finalist. Check out the news flash!


Our Main Street baseline summary is complete! After several stakeholder meetings, a public survey, and collection of new market data, the downtown Coldwater baseline summary is available for view. The summary shares the results of the public survey, includes details of the local market, and identifies key areas of focus. Click here for a link to the report.   


Under the guidance of the DDA, with assistance from the City’s Neighborhood Services Department, the Committee will be comprised of 3 citizen members and representatives from the City Planning and Historic District Commissions. The Branch District Library, American Legion, Altrusa, and the Coldwater Garden Club have also been asked to designate a representative to serve on the Committee.

  • Michael J. Caywood (President)
    Term: October, 2018 - September, 2026
  • Brad Rockey (Vice President)
    Term: March, 1991 - September, 2025
  • Thomas Kramer, Mayor
    Term: November, 2011 - November, 2023
  • Makayla Bendele 
    Term: January, 2021 - September, 2025
  • Christopher Howell
    Term: January 2022 - September, 2023
  • Matt Biolchini
    Term: November, 2021 - September, 2026
  • Courtney Dirschell 
    Term:  August, 2019 - September, 2024
  • Patrick Kelley
    Partial Term: November, 2022 - September, 2024
  • John Rucker 
    Term: October, 2019 - September, 2023

Term Length

Authority Member term length is 4 years.

Beautiful Downtown Coldwater

Located on historic Heritage Route US-12, just west of I-69 and only 12 miles from the Indiana border, Downtown Coldwater has the charm of a Victorian era city but with modern amenities such as a free Electric Vehicle Charging Station.

Our historic downtown storefronts with their unique architecture, welcome you in to browse (and hopefully purchase!) everything from specialty gifts and jewelry to quality furniture. Feeling hungry? Then enjoy a tasty meal at one of our many coffee shops, restaurants or pubs or share your picnic lunch with a friend in Four Corners Park.

Current Projects & Activities

Building Improvement Program: Rebates and Low Interest Loans

The DDA offers rebates towards façade improvement projects and partners with Century Bank and Trust, and Southern Michigan Bank & Trust, to provide low interest loans for façade improvements. The DDA also provides design assistance at no cost to encourage high-quality projects. 

This year six buildings have taken on exterior renovations with the assistance of the rebate program, while several others have been approved for funding and are in the process of completing their improvements. 

Note: applicants must apply prior to having any work done. The DDA reviews design plans to ensure projects are appropriate for the historic district. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month.

Click here for the program guidelines. 

Click here to apply. 

To request design assistance, please email Audrey Tappenden or call 517-279-6913.

Print Advertisements

 We continue to place print advertisements in publications with regional and widespread impact. These include the Coldwater Country Visitor’s Guide, Lake Access Magazine, and the Tibbits playbill.

Social Media 

In 2019 Facebook and Instagram pages were created for Downtown Coldwater. We are happy to be able to reach our local and regional audiences using these platforms, and to create positive messaging for the downtown. We now create our own content and share the events, programs, sales, and good news of our fellow downtown businesses and organizations.

Seasonal Planters & Decorations 

We pride ourselves on having beautiful flowers and decorations on display each season throughout downtown. Our large planters are a crowd favorite in the summer. Fall brings a change of color and materials before festive holiday décor and lights are installed in November and December.

“Taylor’s Building” - Purchase, Maintenance, & Tenant

The DDA purchased the former Taylor’s building during the November 2019 regular meeting. It is the goal of the Authority to use this building as a development tool and to offer incentives to the developer(s) of a project which meets the goals of the community and our downtown overall. Architectural renderings and cost estimates were prepared to outline the development potential at the site. The DDA is currently working to assess cost of required maintenance activities and financing options. The DDA is also exploring the feasibility of locating the Children's Museum of Branch County to the ground floor.  Access the RFQ by clicking here.


Patronicity Fundraiser Completed!

This fall we hosted a public fundraiser to raise money towards the relocation and expansion of the Children's Museum of Branch County to Downtown Coldwater! Thanks to our generous community, we raised over $70,000, helping us earn an additional $50,000 from the MEDC Match on Main program. Funds raised are being used for renovations and museum exhibits.

More information about the museum's relocation and expansion is available here.

Match on Main Recipients

This year, the DDA's application to Match on Main resulted in a $9,029 award for Shemel's Carpet & Interiors. Funds will be used for upgrading their technology systems and using software for high-quality product demonstrations.

In 2022, an $18,000 grant was awarded to El Taco Loco for architectural plans. The plans will help the business plan a restaurant expansion and assess the feasibility of upper story apartment units. 

In 2020, the DDA applied for a Match on Main Grant to support 9 of our downtown businesses impacted by COVID-19 and were one of a handful communities selected to receive grant funds. We received $35,000 through the Match on Main program and distributed awards ranging from $2,000-$10,000. 

Façade Renovations

Funds from the DDA Rebate Program have been earmarked for 11 projects in the 2020 fiscal year. Over $1,000,000 in private investment has been committed to downtown during the first 13 months of the program.

Social Media Growth 

Over 1,800 Facebook followers and individual post reach over 15,000.

Bike Rack Installation

Bike racks have been designed, purchased, delivered and installed! Our downtown is now even more accessible to its visitors, workers, and community.

Active RFQs for Downtown Properties

Small Town Design Initiative Moves Forward

The Coldwater Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is taking the next step towards revitalization of Four Corners Park with the formation of the Small Town Design Initiative (STDI) Project Steering Committee.
4 Corners Park Plan
This core group will review the STDI Master Design Concept and draft a 5 year improvement plan containing short and long term projects and activities and the identification of community partnerships necessary to accomplish them. Based on the 5 year improvement plan, a final Master Plan with project specific implementation and funding strategies will be created. At that time, additional partnership organizations and community members with a special interest in the park, or a specific project outlined in the Master Plan, will be invited to serve as subcommittee members.

The STDI is a program of Michigan State University's (MSU) Planning and Landscape Architecture Department which has worked with many small communities throughout Michigan who've utilized the design concepts provided by the STDI program to further their beatification and community revitalization efforts. The program was brought to Coldwater as a joint effort between the City of Coldwater and the Coldwater Downtown Development Authority (DDA).


As part of its effort to carry out the goals and objectives of the Authority, the Coldwater DDA has hired the following businesses for contractual services over the course of 2019:

Neitzert’s Greenhouse & Florist

Neitzert’s installs and maintains floral decorations seasonally in Downtown Coldwater.

Unspent Revenues

Unspent revenues that accumulated during any of the past 5-10 fiscal years were set aside for use towards large and/or long-term projects. Some of the DDA’s net revenues resulted from the annual budget while other surpluses were realized from a building sale. These positive net revenues have been deployed for parking lot improvements and renovations, development opportunities, the façade improvement rebate program, and other projects.