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Two organizations certify DDA's quality

February 23, 2011 - The Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has impressed two more organizations.

As of Wednesday, Feb. 16, Main Street Oakland County, and the National Trust Main Street Center have declared Lake Orion's DDA a nationally accredited 2010 Main Street Program.

"It's an honor because only around 50 percent of main street programs are accredited every year," said DDA Executive Director Suzanne Perreault. "The first couple of years you're getting your committees together, getting the stakeholders, and getting volunteers interested in the program.

"The accreditation shows we have a good program here."

According to their mission statement, the purpose of the Main Street Oakland County program, started in 2000, is to aid the economic potential and preserve heritage in Oakland County's historic commercial districts by emphasizing economic development with a concentration on historic preservation.

The accreditation is based on ten parameters that are desired in a member of a mainstream program including having community support, a historic preservation ethic, an active board and committees, a comprehensive work plan, and an adequate operating budget.

The National Trust Main Street Center was a program started 30 years ago to preserve main streets. The organization calls the streets economic engines, cores of community, and provides a four point plan to help preserve them.

The four points, which help to guide DDAs on their efforts to maintain historical sections, focus on organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring.

Perreault said having a main street program acts as a kind of framework for improving and maintaining downtown areas.

"It's volunteer based, and the decisions made are based on the input from the community," said Perreault. "Most states have a program like this that comes out and evaluates our progress every year.

"Lake Orion was accredited in 2009 and 2000 as well."

Assistant Coordinator for Oakland County Main Street Julie Courtney provided not only news of the accreditation to the DDA board, but also spoke to lengths about the improvement of Lake Orion's DDA.

"While there is always room for improvement with any DDA, they did receive positive ratings for all ten parameters," said Courtney. "We've seen a steady improvement in Lake Orion, especially with the new director.

"She's take the organization of their DDA to the next level."

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