IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WZMQ) – The city of Iron Mountain has recently welcomed a new program coordinator at the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) who is determined to bring exciting changes and programs to the downtown area. With a background in urban planning and business, the coordinator, Tom McCauley, is well-equipped to take on this role. Already within just a few weeks of jumping onboard, he has completely redesigned downtown Iron Mountain’s website.
Having worked for an urban planning consultant in Lansing for 5 years, McCauley brings a wealth of experience to the table. He also has experience working with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
In addition to promoting community involvement in the downtown area, McCauley would like to see more programs that would improve the city’s infrastructure, help property owners, attract visitors, and help businesses to thrive.
“We’re also going to be looking into other grant programs that we can apply for and help property owners apply for. Primarily around building renovations, redevelopment business improvement. Helping people open businesses and that sort of thing,” explained McCauley.
McCauley is familiar with some of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) programs, which provide funding to property owners and developers rather than the municipality itself. One of these programs is the Community Revitalization Program, which aims to attract new businesses or redevelop existing buildings.
Before the city and downtown area can fully take advantage of these programs, McCauley understands the importance of careful planning. He is focused on conducting thorough research and analysis to determine the necessary steps to make Iron Mountain an attractive destination for investors and developers. McCauley is particularly interested in exploring state programs that offer funding for infrastructure improvements. By identifying the criteria that the downtown area and city meet, he hopes to identify areas for improvement and secure funding to enhance the city’s infrastructure.
Another program that McCauley is eager to get involved in is the Redevelopment Ready Communities initiative. This program is aimed at helping communities stay competitive by keeping them ready for redevelopment. The program involves planning for new investments in the community, focusing limited resources, and identifying new assets and opportunities.
McCauley recognizes that there are still a few more steps to take before Iron Mountain can fully participate in programs like the Community Revitalization Program and the Redevelopment Ready Communities initiative, but he is committed to making it happen.
In addition to these programs, McCauley is also focused on continuing other programs already offered in Iron Mountain. Currently, the grants available include the Facade Grant and the Downtown Assistance Program, both of which aim to enhance the appearance and functionality of buildings within the downtown boundary. Over the next one to two years, McCauley aims to explore additional housing programs to attract residents and provide them with quality living options.
Iron Mountain has already started to attract individuals from larger cities such as Chicago, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, and Santa Barbara at various community functions. Many people who have moved away are now expressing a desire to return to the area. McCauley is determined to increase awareness of the downtown area’s potential and highlight the opportunities it offers to both residents and businesses. With his expertise and passion for urban planning, McCauley hopes to bring about positive changes and transform Iron Mountain into a thriving and vibrant community.
In addition to the exciting programs and initiatives, events like today’s Out to Lunch, featuring live music by Flagship Romance at the Systems Control Stage, play a crucial role in involving the community in conversations about further growth and attracting more visitors to the downtown area. These events provide opportunities for people to come together, enjoy great music, and share their ideas on how to enhance the downtown experience. Another event that fosters community engagement is the DDA’s “Third Thursdays”, where participants can earn raffle tickets by shopping and dining in the downtown area and hear live local music performances.
Tom McCauley is actively promoting the upcoming Third Thursday on August 17th, which will be hosted at the rooftop bar at the Sandstone Terrace. This event will feature live music by Todd Wangerin and Amber Farrington from 6-9 pm central time, with a raffle drawing at 7:30 central that night. Shoppers can increase their chances of winning the raffle by shopping at Linnea & Kristine Flower Shop, where they will receive a total of three tickets.
Furthermore, McCauley is excited to promote and attend Iron Mountain’s upcoming Italian Fest, which celebrates the city’s rich Italian heritage.
“I have ties to this community going back about 35 years, I knew a lot of Italian folks here, and I know that’s a big part of Iron Mountain’s heritage. There’s the Italian dinner toss, grape stomp, and of course the children’s activities,” he remarked.
The upcoming Italian Fest provides an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to come together, enjoy delicious Italian cuisine, and engage in the vibrant cultural traditions of the community. By actively participating in events like these, McCauley aims to connect with the community, celebrate their heritage, and further promote the growth and development of Iron Mountain’s downtown area.
For a look at the DDA’s new website to see more details on upcoming events or explore current grant program offerings, visit:
For more information on the Community Revitalization Program, visit:
For more information about Redevelopment Ready Communities, visit: