County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

DDA Grant Program Sparks Changes on Main Street


Just about everyone noticed the big change on Main Street in Harrison last week: the removal of the Harrison school building, built in 1938. Other more subtle changes have been happening all summer at Dreyer Hovey and Post, and at Dan Durga State Farm.

Both businesses applied and received approval for façade improvement grants from the Harrison Downtown Development Authority. The Façade Beautification Plan began this year to help businesses make positive changes to their building exteriors. The plan allows business to apply for matching funds up to $5,000 to paint, improve signage, or to make specific renovations.

The DDA reached out to businesses in the designated DDA zone, roughly along Main Street and N. Clare Avenue from Townline Lake Road to the south city limit of Harrison, to make them aware of how the program could help with any future planning of improvement projects.

The Dreyer Hovey and Post renovations were significant, over $50,000. The portion approved for the grant included matching funds for signage and landscaping. Built in 1981, by mostly retired partner Dave Dreyer, the building needed tiling for drainage, foundation, and basement improvement in addition to outside work. Removing a large, half-dead pine made room for signage and landscape for the law office.

Hovey, who is familiar with DDA operations as the City of Beaverton’s attorney, applauded the grant program.

“It was time to update the building and we very much wanted to. Working with the DDA and getting the grant made it easier. We wanted to partner with the DDA and help continue to update Harrison. It’s time to update so as a community we look new and upcoming, and I think that’s what this program is about. Welcoming people to our community and welcoming our community members to our businesses. Growing together.”

Post agreed.

“It’s very helpful. Coming up with the money to do this project was hard and sometimes stressful,” he said. “Having a DDA that contributed definitely alleviated stress.”

Community is important to both Post and Hovey. Hovey is actively involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters, Friends of Clare Park and Recreation and several other charitable organizations. Post is a board member of the Clare County Community Foundation and the Northern Michigan Alliance for Children, and he is part of Team Clare, in the Clare-Gladwin Recovery Court.

Post was also recently recognized with the honor of “Super Lawyers Rising Star” for 2021. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Dan Durga’s State Farm office (ironically built by Dreyer in the 1970s) applied to improve signage, safety and accessibility and overall façade improvement.

“I probably wouldn’t have done part of my project had it not been for the DDA,” Durga told the Cleaver. “I would have done my ramp because of safety. I took it as an opportunity to go beyond the scope of my original plan.”

Durga replaced siding and trim, painted, and resurfaced his ramp entryway. He also made inside improvements not part of the grant process.

Dreyer Hovey and Post also plan to refresh their practice’s interior next year.

The finishing touch for both businesses will be their main signage done by Hogger's Custom Sign & Design of Harrison which will be installed soon.


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