The City of Howell’s Downtown Development Authority board has chosen a new director.

Howell DDA Interim-Director Kate Litwin has been selected to take over the position full-time. The DDA Board received 9 applications for the position before narrowing the field to 3. Those 3, being Litwin, Ortonville DDA Director Matt Jenkins, and Oxford DDA Director Glen Pape, were interviewed by the board, Tuesday evening. Howell Mayor Nick Proctor said he was impressed with all 3 candidates, but in the end Litwin has served on the DDA as Outreach Coordinator for 5 years, done a marvelous job, and knows the city. While another qualified candidate might be able to hit the ground running with this job, Proctor said Litwin is “already running.”

Litwin says she intends to help the city continue to build upon its recent successes. She said she wants to make downtown Howell the best place for residents, for visitors, and for “everybody to enjoy living, working, playing, recreating, dining- all the features we have in our down, making it the best it can be.”

One area Litwin says she sees as an area for opportunity is with available property in the downtown area. Working with city staff, she said she believes they are getting to a point where they may be able to capitalize off it soon. She also expressed an interest in offering a sort-of pop-up shop opportunity for potential business owners, downtown, and wants to explore vibrancy grants. Vibrancy grants can help businesses that want to make aesthetic improvements to their building but on a scale smaller than that of something like a façade grant. This could be something like new awnings or paint. During her interview, she also expressed in interest in continuing and possibly expanding their retail assistance program.

DDA President Brian Walker welcomed her to the position, saying that Litwin has more than proven herself to the community with unquestionable enthusiasm, dedication, and love for it. (MK)