Economic Development Administrator
Economic Development Administrator
Brownfield Program Manager
Downriver Community Conference Expands Economic Development and
Small Business Services with Help from Federal Grant
SOUTHGATE – Last August, the Downriver Community Conference (DCC) was awarded a $1.6 million grant from the Economic ?Development Administration for the Downriver Riverfront Communities Economic Recovery Implementation Project to help strengthen economic development in the region following the closure of two DTE coal-fired power plants along the riverfront.
The focus area for the project is the five communities located between the two retired power plants: River Rouge, Ecorse, Wyandotte, Riverview, and Trenton, along the Jefferson Street corridor. The project has three main goals: create and staff a regional Economic Development Office, develop a strategy for the redevelopment of industrial (brownfield) sites, and create a small business technical assistance program.
DCC Leadership is happy to announce the hiring of two local professionals as the first step of this project: Jazmine Danci and Joseph Gruber. “I am grateful for Governor Whitmer’s support of this important project, as well as Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’s and State Representative Tullio Liberati’s. What happens along the riverfront, and with the decommissioned power plant sites, truly impacts all of Downriver, and Southeast Michigan. We have lined up a phenomenal team to kick off our efforts and I am excited to see the work we’re going to do,” says Jim Perry, Executive Director for the DCC.
Danci and Gruber both have extensive experience in economic development and will be serving as Economic Development Administrators in the newly expanded DCC Economic Development Department.
Jazmine Danci has spent the majority of her career with the City of Romulus, holding various roles including Director of Marketing and Community Development in which she oversaw the City’s economic development efforts and served as the Public Information Officer among other duties. Most recently, Jazmine served as Executive Director of the Greater Romulus Chamber of Commerce for a year where she increased membership by more than 20%, oversaw a rebranding process and transition to a new website, set core values and restructured board committees. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental sustainability.
Joseph Gruber has served the City of Wyandotte for the last seven years as Executive Director of their Downtown Development Authority. In that time, he successfully completed dozens of public improvement projects, public art and placemaking programs. Joe has facilitated major real estate and economic development projects; launched one of Michigan’s first Social Districts in August 2020; and helped secure millions of dollars in grant funding for Wyandotte. He holds a bachelor’s degree in human rights and master’s degree in community development.
Danci and Gruber join John D’Addona who is the current Brownfield Program Manager for the DCC. D’Addona has held the Manager position for the last two years following the death of Paula Boase. Prior to being appointed as Manager, D’Addona was a consultant for the Downriver Area Brownfield Consortium since 2007. The DCC Economic Development Team is meeting with elected officials and other partners at the local, county, state, and federal levels to align the 2021 DCC Strategic Plan moving forward. One of the first priorities will be to develop a joint industrial/commercial site redevelopment Master Plan for the five-community corridor using an inclusive, community-driven strategy. Public meetings and opportunities for input will be announced as the program progresses.
For more information about this project, or how to start or expand your business downriver, please email
The Downriver Community Conference is partnership of 20 member communities that provides leadership in establishing common, positive goals and strategies to develop the human, social, and economic assets of the Downriver area; enhances the quality of life for area residents, workers and businesses; shapes public policy at the federal, state, regional, county, and local levels; and identifies, obtains and responsibly manages the necessary financial resources to successfully
implement this vision.