DDA Board Member Spotlight

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Craig Schmidt


Name: Craig Schmidt

Occupation: Real Estate Appraiser

Joined the DDA: 2005

Why did you join the DDA? Well, in the ‘70s my parents were part of a group that fought against urban renewal and they lost that fight. I remember that and it has always stayed with me. I want to help rebuild downtown Fenton and move forward with our new generation of Fenton.

Why do you love Fenton? The people! There are a lot of good quality, friendly and neighborly people in Fenton. Plus, it is close to everything. It is referred to as “the Golden Triangle”, because it is close to Ann Arbor, Oakland County and Flint. You can get anywhere in a hurry and it’s a great place to call home.

What DDA project are you most excited about now? We have so many projects going right now! It is a very exciting time to be part of the Fenton DDA and see the progress we have made. I am most excited about the Cornerstone Building. This building along with the new brewery will transform the downtown district, and get us closer to a complete downtown district. There are 13 volunteers on the DDA board, all working very hard for the betterment of the community. We could not be where we are today without these hard working volunteers.

What do you see for Fenton's future? I see a vibrant downtown in Fenton’s future. There are so many things in the works and within the next 2 years we are going to have an excellent downtown. There will be more restaurants and shops and with all of the events we have, there will be something for everyone.

What is your favorite place to eat in Fenton? I enjoy many of the restaurants in downtown Fenton, but I have to say that Lucky’s Steak House is my favorite. My favorite there is the fish, they are known for it, believe it or not!

Where is your favorite place to shop? My wife and I love all of the shops and we have more than a few favorites. Of course we love all of our “hometown” local stores the best!

Besides your occupation and the DDA, what local organization or activity do you enjoy participating in? As a parent I was involved in the Boy Scouts for many years. I spend a great deal of time now with DDA projects. The activity I enjoy in my free time is golf.

When you're outside of Fenton, what do you tell people about your hometown? I tell people that we have a vast array of things for every age group in Fenton. We have “down home” people, award winning schools, great parks, shops, lakes and restaurants, and a great atmosphere for people to live and visit.


John Strayer


Name: John Strayer

Occupation: Attorney; co-owner and administrator of Tanglewood Assisted Living & Home Care

Joined the DDA:  2011

Why did you join the DDA? I hope to contribute to the ongoing effort at the DDA to redevelop the downtown while, at the same time, balancing DDA resources between the downtown and Silver Parkway. Both areas benefit Fenton in different ways and both are important for the success of our city.

Why do you love Fenton? For many reasons -

1. for Fenton's community spirit, as evidenced by the work of Fenton residents on many volunteer and service organizations; PTOs, chamber, school, government and religious organizations, service clubs and foundations

2. for unique, one of a kind businesses like Uncle Rays Dairyland, Sweet Variations candy store, and French Laundry to name just a few.

3. we may be the only small city in the world which has a 160 acre wilderness preserve within the city limits, open to all residents at no charge

4. school district with a challenging K-12 International Baccalaureate curriculum which works to elevate the performance of all students and sets our school system apart.

5. great variety of neighborhoods, with beautiful, well-kept houses.

What DDA project are you most excited about now?

The redevelopment of Fenton's downtown which includes several projects: the Cornerstone development on the old Republic Bank property; the Michigan Brewing Company plans for the old fire hall; renovating and expanding the community center; the facade improvement program to improve the store fronts of existing businesses, and the streetscape project which will improve and redesign the roadway and sidewalks in the downtown district.

What do you see for Fenton's future?

In addition to the ongoing redevelopment of the downtown, I would like to see improved and completed sidewalks leading into the DDA district, making it easier for families to walk to their favorite restaurants and stores; I would like to see a larger public library in the downtown district; I would like to see more events in both the downtown district and at Silver Parkway which can be enjoyed by Fenton residents and also bring visitors and dollars from out-of-town; I would like to see expanded use and access to the Shiawassee River and riverfront.

What is your favorite place to eat in Fenton?

Within the city limits, Fenton boasts an incredible number of restaurants and I've made a point of eating at every one, from fast food to French cuisine. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Uncle Ray's Dairyland, for obvious reasons.

Where is your favorite place to shop?

I enjoy shopping at stores like Yesterday's Treasures for items from the past that our residents at Tanglewood Assisted Living & Home Care can relate to.

Besides your occupation and the DDA, what local organization or activity do you enjoy participating in?

Right now I'm most active as the class representative (along with my wife Gail) for Fenton High School Class of 2013 (presently the junior class). As class representatives, we participate in a number of school events including building homecoming floats and pulling them in the homecoming parade, chaperoning dances at the school, coaching the girl's powder puff team, working the concession stand at football games and planning this year's prom.

When you're outside of Fenton, what do you tell people about your hometown?

Things are changing for the better. Come see us.

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