DDA Business Packet


The DDA (Downtown Development Authority, aka “Downtown Ludington”)  –

The Downtown Ludington Board is a 501c3 non-profit organization and, through collaboration, advocacy & promotion, partners to create a sense of place & community where people & businesses grow & prosper.

The Downtown Ludington Board has been in existence since 1984. It harnesses the social, economic, natural, and cultural assets that set Ludington apart to create tangible outcomes that benefit the entire community and create a better quality of life for all. Ultimately, we strive to create a place where people love to live, work, and play; a place that values its history, but looks forward, ready for the future. By supporting the organization’s activities and efforts, you support the economic vitality of Downtown Ludington.


Downtown Ludington Board/DDA

Board Meetings: Second Monday of the month (except July) at 3:00pm at City Hall
Marketing Meetings: First Wednesday of the month at 3:00pm at City Hall
Building & Grounds: Third Wednesday of the month at 9:00am at City Hall
Executive Board: Fourth Wednesday of the month at 10:00am at City Hall


Please keep us in the loop regarding any news, events, sales, promotions, etc. so that we can pass this information along to our email lists and social media fans.

  • Email Kristen with any happenings you want to promote
  • Send a PM or text with a quick note about news
  • Tag @DowntownLudington in your posts. 

Kristen Smith – Communications 

Google Calendar:
We can connect your Google Calendar to our community calendar. (free)
Please contact Kristen about how to do this.


Mitch Foster – City Manager

Heather Tykoski – Community Development 

Mark Barnett – Mayor

  • mayor@ci.Ludington.mi.us
  • 231-845-6237

Jeanne Oakes – Downtown (3rd Ward) City Counselor


Downtown Club Meetings: quarterly (watch for announcements)
Topics: Meetings are the hub for business education, brainstorming and open discussion about anything and everything that happens downtown.
Who: Downtown business owners, managers and landlords are welcome to attend
Facebook Group: There is a  Downtown Ludington Club group, which you can be added to upon request. Conversations in this group are only seen by the members and to be a member you must own property, a business or manage a business in Downtown Ludington. Feel free to ask questions, ask your peers for referrals, post news/relevant info, etc.


2024 Event Date List

  1. January 1, 2024 // New Year’s Resolution Run 5k
  2. March 16-17 // St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
  3. Thursdays June-August  // Live In The Alley
  4. Fridays May 24 – September 20 // Live in the Plaza
  5. Fridays May 24-September 20 // Farmers Market 
  6. Friday, June 7 // Love Ludington Street Party
  7. Friday-Sunday Aug. 2-4 // Downtown Ludington Sidewalk Sales 
  8. September 28 // Octoberfest
  9. October 26 // Halloween Festivities, #RunLudington Run For Your Lives 5k/10k
  10. November 30 // Small Business Saturday/Aglow On The Avenue/Tree Lighting
  11. December 31 // New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

Road Closures

  1. Friday, June 7 // Love Ludington Street Party
  2. Thursday, July 4 // Freedom Festival Parade
  3. Saturday, October 26 // Halloween Festivities, #RunLudington Run For Your Lives 5k/10k
  4. Friday, December 31 // New Year’s Eve Ball Drop


All of our events are volunteer driven. If you or someone you know would like to help out at a DDA event, you can use these links to get more information. Click learn more below to sign up for our volunteer email list, join our volunteer Facebook group, and view our available opportunities.


The Council can have 9 members, all of whom must be residents within the DDA District boundary. The Advisory Council members are appointed by the Mayor and approved by Ludington City Council. The Advisory Council is responsible for advising the DDA Board on the development of plans for future public improvement projects within the DDA District, such as street, parking, sidewalk, park, trail and landscaping improvements. The Advisory Council meets on an as-needed basis, no more than once per month. Thanks for your interest in volunteering your time to this effort. The Mayor of Ludington will contact you within two business days of receipt of this application.


Your donation to the Downtown Ludington Board helps to fund special projects.

Ways to Donate

  1. Send a check to:
    Downtown Ludington Board Donations
    400 S Harrison St
    Ludington, MI  49431
  2. PayPal
  3. Smile.Amazon.com
    Of course we want you to shop local! But if you happen to find yourself shopping on Amazon, visit this URL and Amazon will donate a portion back to the Downtown Ludington Board.

Marketing Efforts

Weekly/Monthly Newsletters: https://downtownludington.org/subscribe


  • Business Density
  • Sidewalk Maintenance
  • Trash Cans
  • Bike Racks
  • Hanging Baskets
  • Street Planter Pots
  • Foot Traffic
  • Promotion & Marketing
  • Infrastructure Maintenance


(Ludington Outdoor Social District)


The Ludington Outdoor Social District was established in 2021 and it allows patrons to purchase alcoholic beverages in a designated cup to be consumed within the commons area of the district. Visit the page above to learn more about Ludington’s social district. Use the links below to learn more about the state law and how you can participate.


TOPICS: Zoning/Signage/Sidewalks/Outdoor Dining/Short Term Rentals
CONTACT: Heather Tykoski (Community Development) 231-845-6237, [email protected]


Intent / Permitted Uses / Permitted Accessory Uses / Special Land Uses / Required Conditions 

SIGNAGE / View Ordinance

  • Sandwich boards are allowed, but please keep 5′ of clearance to meet accessibility requirements.
  • Street flags are allowed, however on Ludington Ave and James St – due to MDOT restrictions – flags must be generic. No business names are allowed. Examples of acceptable signage: Open, Wine Tastings, Ice Cream


  • Short term rentals (less than 30 days) are allowed in the DDA if your property is a condo or a boutique hotel.
  • Rental Registration


  • No weeds or grasses in excess of ten inches on any property in the city and prevent bushes, trees or shrubs from extending over the sidewalk.
  • Weeds and grasses not cut by May 1st may be cut by the city and the property owner will be charged for the cost.

Mobile food vendors are allowed on private property if they meet the requirements.

  • The MFV is a licensed, wheeled vehicle and the wheels will not be removed.
  • The MFV is self-contained with no plumbing connections.
  • The MFV will not be used for drive-thru service.
  • The MFV and any associated seating or tables shall not be located in any vision triangle, block any driveway or occupy any handicap accessible parking space
  • Trash receptacles must be provided for use by the customers of the MFV. The property and all adjacent streets and sidewalks shall be kept free and clear of refuse generated by the operations of the MFV.f)No liquid waste or grease shall be disposed of or released into any sanitary sewer or storm drains, sidewalks or other public places or municipal waste receptacles.


  • Display of merchandise shall be limited to an area no more than 34 inches from the face of the building or right-of-way line adjoining the street.
  • Chairs and tables for outdoor dining areas shall be in accordance with the Downtown Ludington Outdoor Dining Design Guidelines.
  • All displays, including shelving and/or racks, chairs and tables, shall be removed from the sidewalk when the adjoining retail operation is closed
  • Any combination of display and/or seating area shall provide a minimum pedestrian right-of-way of five feet. Any display or seating area that interferes with the safe passage of pedestrians shall be relocated or removed. 
  • All areas shall be well maintained and cleaned regularly by the adjoining property owner, lessee or occupant.
  • Activities conducted in the state of Michigan highway right-of-way between the curb and the right-of-way line shall be in accordance with the rules, regulations and conditions listed on the city’s annual miscellaneous operations permit.
  • No items may be placed in the area at street corners or alley/street corners created by extending the building lines to the traveled portion of the streets or alleys.

OUTDOOR DINING / View Ordinance

Outdoor dining areas are permitted on the same lot as the eating establishment. If a sidewalk is used for outdoor dining, it shall be immediately adjacent to and abutting the eating establishment with the exception of those establishments on corners that do not have parallel parking spaces. Egress from the building must be maintained free of obstruction per the Michigan Building Code and the National Fire Prevention Code. Chairs, tables and barriers required by the Downtown Ludington Outdoor Dining Design Guidelines may remain on the sidewalk overnight but shall not be stored outside of the restaurant for extended periods of non-use and during the off-season.


TOPICS: Recycling / Dumpsters / Bulky items
CONTACT: Corinn VanWyck @Ludington Department of Public Works (DPW)




The City of Ludington provides 5 dumpster locations throughout the DDA.
Am I a Downtown Resident?  View the map to see the DDA boundary.

  • Each location has a container for general trash and cardboard.
  • Please break cardboard boxes down flat.
  • Dumpsters are emptied daily Monday-Friday
  • Each DDA address is allowed to dispose of two yards of trash per week. This includes cardboard.
    • Two cubic yards of dumpster space equals approximately 400 gallons of material
      • (4) 96 gallon containers
      • (9) 44 gal bags
      • (12) 32 gal bags
      • (27) 15 gal kitchen bags
  • If the dumpster nearest to you is full, please use one of the other 4 locations. Do not place bags outside of dumpsters or corrals. 


STEP 1: Determine if the item is eligible.

  • Commercial appliances are not eligible for the bulky item or Freon sticker as they are larger and weigh more than residential units.  Businesses are advised to take (or hire someone to take) large commercial appliances to Padnos on US10.
  • If it is not a commercial appliance, continue to STEP 2

 STEP 2: Purchase a “Bulky Item” sticker

  • For bulky items that are not commercial appliances, businesses may purchase a “Bulky Item Sticker”.
  • WHERE? City Hall – 400 S Harrison St – Monday through Friday 8am-5pm
  • HOW MUCH? $15 per item, limit 5 items per week

STEP 3: Take the item to the “Bulky Item” collection spot.

  • Do not place items for collection prior to 5pm Tuesday, before the first Wednesday of the month.
  • All items must be tagged with a bulky item sticker. 
  • Please place items on the south side, outside of the Dumpster 2 corral. See a map with labels here.

The following option is discouraged, as downtown sidewalks should be trash free. Using the public dumpsters listed above is preferred: If your business is on South James Street – you may place refuse curbside at your location on Thursday mornings, after 6 am. Republic Service will be around for removal between 7 am. and 2 pm, weekly. Due to the location and business traffic- we ask that you not place it at the curb earlier than stated, and if your garbage is not removed, you remove it from the curbside and contact Republic Waste Directly (231-723-4850), to inquire.


What is the DDA?

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Public Act 197 of 1975 as amended, is designed to be a catalyst in the development of a community’s downtown district. The DDA provides for a variety of funding options including tax increment financing mechanism, which can be used to fund public improvements in the downtown district and the ability to levy a limited millage to address administrative expenses.
MichiganBusiness.org Fact Sheet
Downtown Development Authority Act 197 of 1975

Is my property/business in the DDA?

View the DDA map.

What is my property zoned?

View the zoning map.

Is there a fee to be in the DDA?

The DDA boundary is a zone. Landlords within that zone pay a 2mil tax to the DDA. There is also a TIF plan in place in which the DDA collects 12% of the 15mil city tax on properties within the DDA.

What are the rules for putting up a sign for my business?

Can I hang string lights?



Public use of DDA dumpsters? Dispatch: (231) 869-5858
Trash/Recycling questions? Corinn @ DPW: (231) 843-2873
Safety concern? Late night escort to car? Call LPD


Watch Video

Our gift certificate program is digital (facilitated using Conpoto), which allows purchasers to receive (or send) their certificates immediately via email.

  • Participation is free (DDA businesses only)
  • You will be reimbursed 100% of the certificate
  • Certificate validation done through an app on a mobile device or by entering a code on a desktop. If your register or POS system doesn’t have access to the internet, that’s okay! Many businesses have purchased a tablet or are using an old device to keep at the register to scan or enter the code.
  • Payments are processed via ACH bi-monthly
  • You will have access to reports within your own portal
  • View a Sample Certificate.
  • Certificates may be printed or kept on a mobile device for validation.
  • You can give change by giving cash back, in store credit or requiring 100% of the certificate to be used. 
  • Buy at https://downtownludington.org/buyludington

If you want to participate, please confirm with Jen Tooman and you will be sent an invite via email to start your setup. This invitation email will include a link to start your account setup (business and ACH info will be required). You’ll then receive a “Welcome” email which will allow you to setup your individual portal by creating a username and password. It will also include training videos and instructions, which are also available in your merchant portal.

From 2015-2021 we used gold paper certificates and many of those are still in circulation. Please note, the gold certificates are no longer in use as of October 30, 2021; they were officially transferred to the new certificates.  Please continue to handle the old certificates as you always have (take to West Shore Bank to be reimbursed), and use the new merchant portal to validate the new certificates.

Annual Projects

  • Downtown Brochure/Map, a collaboration with the Ludington Area CVB.
  • Petunia Baskets
  • Baby Badger Upkeep
  • Advertising and Marketing Pieces
  • Live Music
  • Farmers Market
  • Plaza Lawn Care & Landscaping
  • Repair & Maintenance

2021 Projects
Completion of Legacy Plaza Phase 1
BOGO Downtown Gift Certificate programs
LOSD (Ludington Outdoor Social District)

2020 Projects
COVID business support
BOGO Downtown Gift Certificate programs

2019 Projects
Fundraising for Legacy Plaza
DDA Street Tree Plan Implementation
Purchased 8 Street-side Planters

2018 Completed Projects
Public James Street Parking Lot
Synthetic Ice Rink
New umbrellas and yard games for James Street Plaza

2017 Completed Projects
Platform stage for James Street Plaza

2016 Completed Projects
Downtown WiFi
Resident Parking Sticker Program

2015 Completed Projects
James Street Plaza restroom facility remodel
Installed LED streetlights throughout

Current Projects

  • Fundraising for Legacy Plaza
    • arch
    • digital kiosk
    • sides for pavilion
  • DDA Streetscape Plan and Implementation
    • trees
    • planters
    • bike racks
    • trash cans
    • benches

Future Projects & Goals

  • Alley maintenance
  • Paving & Lighting Filer Street Lot
  • Best Practices Agreement
  • Refuse Plan


Downtown Ludington

The DDA is home to 200 business addresses. Discover them via our directory.

SS Badger

The SS Badger is the last steam powered carferry on the Great Lakes and was designated in 2016 as a National Historic Landmark. It brings over 100,000 passengers to Ludington each year during it’s sailing season from May to October.

Ludington State Park

One of the highest ranking state parks in Michigan, our state park consists of 5300 aces including 21.5 miles of hiking trails. It is open all year round for camping and hosts many events including Lantern Lit and Guided Snowshoe Hikes in the winter and live music in the summer. The state park brings thousands of visitors to the Ludington area annually.






Michigan Small Business Development Center


  • Sandcastles Children’s Museum
  • Ludington Area Center for the Arts
  • Mason County District Library
  • Mason County Historical Society (coming May 2022)
  • Port of Ludington Maritime Museum
  • Coast Guard Station
  • National Historic Landmark: SS Badger Carferry
  • Cultural Trails (Sculpture, Lumber Heritage, Music Heritage, Veterans Mall, Maritime Heritage)
  • Cartier Park Campground, Dog Park, Boat Launch, Trails & Loop
  • Loomis Street Boat Launch, Parking Lot & Dog Beach
  • Ludington Municipal Marina & Harbor View Marina
  • Nearby parks: Legacy Plaza, Waterfront Park, Rotary Park, Copeyon Park, Stearns Park
  • SUP/Kayak/Bike Rental