News & Updates
February 2023 | Issue 1
Director's Message
We are seeing advancement and progress within the past several months as work continues in the Manistee Downtown Development Authority.  

First, infrastructure plans and work continue as expected. Regarding the streetscape plan, a personal services contract is being negotiated with the vendor, and work is anticipated to begin in early 2023. The Riverwalk federal grant will have two phases - plan development and then construction. A plan request for proposals has been noticed by the City, and the construction phase is scheduled to start in September.  

Next, there is great interest in starting businesses downtown. We are currently working with four new restaurants within the downtown area. This includes the recently announced Emerald Cove Hotel and The Mill Restaurant at 348 River Street, and a re-opening of a restaurant at the Fillmore location. The Chamber of Commerce and DDA has also been assisting additional businesses with food-related start-ups.  

Finally, there continue to be opportunities to capture grant funding for buildings or projects. A new round of Match on Main grant funding is available from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for Redevelopment Ready Communities. According to the application, two businesses are eligible to split a $25,000 match in the City of Manistee. The deadline is February 21st for all materials, but a consultation with me is required by February 15th. Please contact to get started.  

If you know an entrepreneur who wants to start or expand a business, please contact us at the Chamber, or visit our website at to fill out the Developer & Entrepreneur Onboarding form.


Manistee DDA Director
You are invited! Celebrate Manistee County businesses and business professionals! This elegant, formal evening includes cocktails and conversation, dinner, and dessert, followed by the annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Program. Wrap up the evening with a festive after-party featuring Yellow Brick Road Dueling Pianos, and a cash bar!

LIMITED TIME ONLY! Early Bird rates are available through February 17th, with the discount applied at checkout. Reserve your table or tickets NOW and save BIG!
Local Events
Design by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce.
Congratulations on the Grand Opening of River St. Sports Bar & Grill!

Formerly River St. Station, the historic bar is under new ownership and celebrating its opening night! Stop by to show your support and welcome them to the community. Try a "modern contemporary drink" or "handcrafted burger" as promoted on their Facebook page! Located at 350 River St., open from 3:00 pm through midnight today.
Downtown Business Connection Meetings
*NEW LINK* We invite and welcome everyone to participate in the monthly Downtown Business meetings which are held via zoom, and in-person quarterly, on the third Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m.

They are a casual conversation with your fellow merchants where you can receive updates, discuss new ideas/challenges, or ask questions.
Below is the recurring Zoom information:

Meeting ID: 864 4001 3341
Passcode: mymanistee

If you get an error code when trying to join a scheduled Zoom meeting, please visit to diagnose the issue. In the meantime try the following:

  • Be sure you have the Zoom application downloaded and updated on your device (Mac, PC, computer, phone, etc.), or open it from your browser using the website.
  • Sign in or create an account to save your name for future meetings.
  • Try copying and pasting the recurring meeting link in your browser, and from there chose to join the meeting using the application or web.
  • If the recurring link doesn't work, use the link emailed out the morning of the meeting.
  • If you're not receiving these reminder emails, check your spam, then reach out to
  • In the event that the link isn't working at all, you have the option to manually type in the Meeting ID and password (available above) to connect.
APPLY - Match on Main Grant
Growth isn’t possible without investment, and the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, acting as the Manistee Downtown Development Authority (DDA), is proud to announce another round of funding available through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) “Match on Main” grant. Applications will be submitted through the DDA, and MEDC provides up to $25,000 match to the Redevelopment Ready Community (RRC). 
The City of Manistee is certified as a RRC through the MEDC, which makes area businesses eligible for funding. Eligibility is dependent upon the physical location (within a downtown business district). Reimbursement of eligible expenses for a new business or a business expansion will require a match by the business, and the business must have, or intend to have control of the site in the application.  

Additional eligibility criteria can be found at the MEDC’s Match on Main website, and the program is geared towards small businesses that support a family-oriented, identifiable downtown or community.  

The DDA can only submit up to two businesses as part of the application process, due to MEDC guidelines, which also require business information, construction quotes, and a background check.  

The application process begins with a consultation with the Director of Economic Development at the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, which must be completed by the close of business on February 15. This will help determine eligibility and provide application materials to interested business owners. Consultation is encouraged to be sooner, rather than later because the business will need to submit quotes on construction costs.  

Complete electronic applications from businesses would be due to the Chamber of Commerce by the close of business on Tuesday, February 21. The City Manager and the Director of Economic Development will make final decisions on applications to be submitted, and meet a final MEDC deadline of February 24, 2023. Here is the complete timeline for application:

January 30 - Application window opens.
February 15 - Local consultation deadline.
February 21 - Local Business worksheet complete. 
February 22 - DDA ranking (if necessary).
February 24 - Application deadline for DDA. 

If there are more than two eligible and complete applications, a final decision will be ranked based on the following criteria:

  1. Completeness of the application;
  2. Determinations of eligibility, including adherence to the grant program’s geographic guidelines, meaning the business in the downtown district or on the US-31 corridor; 
  3. The overall match percentage - a minimum is 1:1 and more on behalf of the business will increase the competitive application at MEDC;
  4. A priority will be placed on new or expanding restaurants; and, 
  5. A priority will also be placed on businesses that increase the City’s tourism infrastructure - businesses that provide experiences and services to tourists that will encourage longer or more enjoyable stays in the city. Examples could be a needed business niche like a bicycle shop, car rental business, or a unique retail experience.

Eligible businesses can schedule a consultation by emailing Marc Miller, Chamber of Commerce Director of Economic Development at
Going PRO in Michigan
The Going PRO Talent Fund, facilitated by fellow Chamber investor, Networks Northwest/Michigan Works!, helps employers ensure they have the talent they need to be competitive by providing funds to help train current and newly hired employees. 

Employers will have a chance to apply for a portion of $55 million in competitive awards to help train their workforce. All training must show a demonstrated need and lead to a transferrable, industry-recognized credential that counts towards the state’s Sixty by 30 educational attainment goal.

APPLICATIONS (for Cycle 2 of funding) OPEN MAY 1, 2023.

Talent Fund awards are granted to employers through Michigan Works! network (MWAs). Participating employers play an integral role in defining their key training needs, then work with their local MWAs (in this case, contact Kyle Ray) and other partners to develop an appropriate, realistic training plan.
Get started by contacting Kyle Ray at 231-342-1242 or via email at

Click here for more information on Going PRO.

If you aren't already following the Manistee DDA Facebook page, better known as Downtown Manistee, please like and follow today! This page is an opportunity to collaborate and promote the downtown businesses. Below are a few opportunities to take advantage of:
As part of the promotion efforts for Downtown Manistee, the Manistee DDA through the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a "Did you know_________?" Facebook post series featuring YOUR business and facts. Click the button above to fill out the Google Form - and email content to
Within the text of your post, remember to tag (@DowntownManistee)! This will get your post recognized, and considered to be shared on the Downtown Manistee Facebook. Please note, not every post that tags @DowntownManistee can be shared without spamming those following the page. The Manistee DDA determines which posts are shared, highlighting the collaboration of businesses downtown, promotion of the community, and to benefit all the downtown district businesses. Tag us!
City Ordinance & Road Closures
Memorial Bridge Detour
As announced in the Manistee News Advocate, the Memorial Bridge with be undergoing some renovations by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) during the spring and summer months of 2023.


The detour route is highlighted on the map to the right. Signage is being overseen by the Manistee County Visitor's Bureau in partnership with the City of Manistee.
The owner or occupant of any occupied or unoccupied business, building, or vacant lot within the Central Business District, as defined in this section, shall keep sidewalks adjacent to his or her property clear of snow and ice and not allow the same to accumulate for more than twenty-four hours.