“Beautification” is another important function of the The Downtown Development Authority (DDA). It takes more than festivals, events, great businesses, and historic buildings to create a thriving and engaging place in any downtown area. Flowers and public art complete the mix, and Downtown Iron Mountain has an abundance of those two ingredients.
The DDA’s Beautification Committee is a group of local businesses, gardeners, DDA staff and Board members, and other dedicated volunteers who keep downtown beautiful. The Committee meets 6 to 12 times per year to plan and execute what types of plants will go where, how to maintain the flowers during the summer season, and coordinate who can actually get the work done. During the last 2 weeks of May every year, the Committee and a small army of volunteers converges on Downtown Iron Mountain to plant flowers and make the magic happen.
The public art downtown was also coordinated by the DDA, along with artist Mia Tavonatti and her Power of Words Project during 2013 to 2019. The umbrellas “sky art” project in the alleyway behind First National Bank & Trust north of Ludington Street in the summer of 2023 was also a DDA project, funded with grants from the Dickinson Area Community Foundation and the Michigan Municipal League Foundation. The DDA and its Beautification Committee continues to work to maintain and grow public art in Downtown Iron Mountain.
The DDA works with a cadre of volunteers who come together in the spring every year to install flowers and plants in 40 hanging baskets, 48 sidewalk planters, and 12 small “pocket” gardens throughout Downtown Iron Mountain. The work is never done, however, as all of the baskets, planters, and gardens require watering and maintenance throughout the summer. Even with much volunteer effort and a few donations of materials, the total cost is approximately $12,000 to $14,000 per year.
The other key component of the beautification process is the sponsors and donations that help the DDA pay for flowers & plants, dirt, mulch, fertilizer, and the hardware required to make it all function. Given the size of this program, the DDA needs and accepts donations from individuals, community organizations, and sponsors.
In partnership with our downtown neighbor, Erickson Jewelers, the DDA has created limited edition “beautification bracelets.” They are available in several different colors and are available in limited quantities. Fifteen percent of every purchase goes directly into the fund for planting flowers downtown around June 1 every year.
To see the bracelets, just go to Erickson Jewelers in Downtown Iron Mountain!
Our Downtown boasts some incredible public art pieces! Check out the Power of Words murals throughout the downtown. We’ll also be bringing some more Public Art Sky Installations to the alleyway behind First National Bank & Trust.