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The city of Alpena is focusing on development of a plaza in the heart of downtown Alpena. The plaza would serve as a focal point in the community, designed to accommodate events and public gatherings.

The plaza will fulfill a need for public space that was recently identified during a branding initiative conducted by the branding and marketing firm Destination Development International (DDI). The Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and partners developed a community brand and marketing program centered on attributes unique to Alpena as a sanctuary from the hectic and pressured lives of larger urban communities. An identifiable, central gathering place was cited in DDI’s recommendation as a key to developing the downtown into a vibrant hub for the Alpena community and its visitors.

Upon its creation, the plaza will be used by the Alpena Brand Leadership Team (BLT) and others as a place to entice local residents and visitors to the downtown through aggressive programming of year-round activities.  It will also complement ongoing investments in affordable and market-rate housing, nearby park improvements, development and historic redevelopment of mixed-use buildings, and façade improvements.

Site location remains a key issue. The current proposed site is inspired by a resurrected 1984 plan to add pedestrian walkways along the rear of an existing commercial block through the closing of a public alley and the redesign of a public and private parking lot. The block is centrally located within the downtown and is adjacent to a two-acre riverfront parcel whose owner has displayed great interest in seeing the plaza project break ground.

As envisioned, the plan would transform the current land use of a surface parking lot owned by the city, an alley, and private parking.  While there are advantages to considering the current location based on resident input and PlacePlan team analysis, some local stakeholders who strongly support the development of a plaza have expressed concerns over the proposed location and the subsequent elimination of some downtown parking.

Downtown Alpena Plaza Palooza Presentation

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