2022 in Review

As we head into this new year that is full of many exciting possibilities and opportunities for the community of Downtown Alpena, it is nice to reflect on the amazing year that we had. Last year there were a lot of wonderful things happening throughout our district and in our community. In this post, we are highlighting 8 of the top 2022 moments for you to look back at.

1. There were five businesses that opened downtown.

We had a lot of new businesses enter the downtown scene this last year. This included Blue Moon Café, Joshua Tree Studio & Spa, Cochon Gourmet Market, Presque Isle Farms Cider, and the River St. Food Truck Court. These new businesses entered into the Downtown Alpena community at different times throughout last year and each one was a very exciting and welcomed addition.

2. The Alpena Ice Fest has its inaugural year.

Last year was the first year for the hugely successful Alpena Ice Fest! We were able to celebrate the cold, chilly winter as a community and share in loving where we are. We are excited to have the Ice Fest again this year on Saturday, February 11 and see just as many people enjoying it with us, but hopefully it will be a little warmer this time!

3. The Sanctuary Cinema had its groundbreaking for the renovation project.

After years of not having a movie theater in Downtown Alpena, renovation officially began on The Sanctuary Cinema led by developer Jeff Konczak and his team at Alpena Marc. We can’t wait to see the grand opening this year for this long-awaited cinema project and to finally have a theater back in Downtown Alpena for the community to enjoy!

4. Four businesses expanded through Match on Main grant.

There were four businesses that were able to expand their business spaces through the Match on Main grant program which is offered through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. It offers $25,000 to reactive the underutilized space. These grants were applied for by the DDA on behalf of up to two businesses in each funding round and Alpena was awarded funds in each round! The businesses that received this grant fund included Hopside Brewery, Ezra Preston LLC, JJ’s Steak & Pizza House, and My Glass Wings.

5. Two new murals were added to Downtown Alpena.

This summer, we were fortunate enough to be able to add two new murals to empty wall spaces in Downtown Alpena as part of the Fresh Waves project. The first mural was created on the Alpena Marina Building by Kayla Peake, an artist from Saginaw, MI. The second mural was created on the Light of Hope Clubhouse building on 3rd Avenue by Tim Nijenhuis, an artist from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. These murals added such a nice vibrance to Alpena this summer, and we cannot wait to add more this coming summer!

6. The Alleyway Project.

The Alleyway Project was introduced this summer by the DDA with the support of local businesses and the City. This made it so that the alleyway next to the Center Building off of 2nd Avenue was closed during the summer months and through November, weather permitting. This was a big change in Downtown Alpena this summer and it made the alleyway accessible for people to use for riding bikes, eating outdoors, and enjoying live music and the social district. We hope to implement this project again this year.

7. Cruise ships in Downtown Alpena.

Last summer was the first summer that we had cruise ships stopping to visit Downtown Alpena! The ships were able to stop and have boats bring passengers into Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary with the help of City of Alpena staff. There was a lot of positive feedback from these new tourists to our town, and we are excited and prepared to have them visiting us again this summer!

8. Best of the Best, Alpena News.

Quite a few of the downtown businesses were recognized in the Alpena News Best of the Best contest towards the end of last year. We were so happy and proud to see how much the community loves and appreciates the businesses that occupy the downtown district in Alpena!

What an amazing year it was for Downtown Alpena and for the community! Each year that we spend expanding and growing our beautiful town is always a memorable one, and we can’t wait to do it again this year. For any further information on the highlighted moments, please contact us at downtownalpenami@gmail.com or visit our Facebook or Instagram pages.

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