Prolific area developer Kelly Doran appeared at March’s Dinkytown Business Association meeting to question the group’s legitimacy after its small-area plan delayed his controversial hotel project.
He has a point. The association’s own members admit they haven’t collected dues or held formal elections in years. That said, the city has an interest in more thoughtfully planning Dinkytown and settling questions about its historic status, and that won’t change even if the technicality pushes the DBA out of those talks.
Doran’s protestations are a distraction, but they’re a much-needed reminder that the DPA needs to tighten up. The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association’s interests seem to lie primarily on the other side of the interstate, and Dinkytown is adding hundreds of students each year through new development. The DBA has become the de facto neighborhood organization representing them.
Doran and developers like him bring students to Dinkytown through new student housing, and the area needs an organization to advocate for those who live and work there. The DBA has done a decent job of this so far, but it needs to get its administrative affairs in order.
A strong, elected leader running a tight ship will help smooth out developers’ relationships with the DBA and will benefit businesses and students alike.