Downtown Bay City is growing, but leaders promise one thing will never change

No matter what the season, you can find people walking through Downtown Bay City. In recent years, the downtown business district has seen a rise in the number of high-end living spaces, unique boutiques, fine dining establishments, special events, and public art features. 

In the summer, streets near some of the restaurant's close to allow outdoor dining. Concerts bring live entertainment Wenonah Park several days a week. In the winter, events, sales, contests, and more draw people to the district's boutiques, antique shops, and eateries. Throughout the year, outdoor fireplaces and public murals beautify the area.

As 2023 winds down, Bay City Downtown Development Authority Director Michael Bacigalupo answers several questions about what's working in the business district and what's next for the community.
"We will always be the place to want to come to before heading north."

- Bay City DDA Director Michael Bacigalupo

Question: Downtown Bay City seems to be thriving. All summer, sidewalks, streets, and the parks are packed with people. In the winter, people crowd around the outdoor fireplaces. We've got new businesses moving in, such as Drift. What is the secret to our success?

Answer: The people, the community, they all come together to make Bay City the place to live work and play.

Downtown Bay City has grown in the past 10 or more years and continues to grow with events, shops and restaurants. We will always be the place to want to come to before heading north.

Q: What's next for Downtown Bay City?

A: Wenonah Park improvements, another fireplace, streets and sidewalks being re-done, and we are starting a beautification initiative to spruce up the downtown.
Michael Bacigalupo (Photo courtesy of the State Theatre)
Q: What does Downtown Bay City's recent success mean for other business districts in the city? 

A: We want all of Bay City to thrive, and the other districts are starting to do more projects and events which is a good thing for their districts.

Q: What does Downtown Bay City's success mean for the community as a whole?

A: A thriving downtown, means tourism, means economic development, means we will survive the big box stores.
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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at