Dear Downtown Ferndale Community,

I hope this letter finds you all in good spirits. As today marks my last day as the Executive Director of the Ferndale DDA, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve embarked on together over the past 3 and 1/2 years. It fills me with immense pride to have served Downtown Ferndale during the tumultuous times of the pandemic. I witnessed firsthand the resilience and unwavering spirit of our local businesses, City of Ferndale staff, and community organizations as they grew and innovated, adapting to the ever-changing landscape. Together, we weathered the storm and emerged stronger than ever. 

I depart with a sense of fulfillment, knowing that I leave the Ferndale DDA in a better place than when I first arrived. Through hard work and collaboration, we have created a solid foundation, built stronger partnerships, and opened doors for new opportunities. As I pass the torch to my remarkable colleague, Sommer Realy to serve as Acting Director, I am confident that this legacy will be carried forward and help pave the way for even greater achievements. The stage is set for fresh faces, ideas, and perspectives to breathe new life into the Ferndale DDA.

Thank you to the organizations and professionals who have supported the DDA throughout my tenure. The City of Ferndale has been instrumental in our shared success and we are especially grateful for the continued work of the Department of Public Works and the Police Department in supporting the beauty and safety of Downtown Ferndale. Thank you to Sadie Quagliotto for her work to make our social media outreach engaging and gorgeous. Thank you to our amazing volunteers who have donated their time on the DDA Vision Committee.

Thank you to the community groups and organizations that we’ve worked with over the years. I don’t have space to list them all… but I’m gonna try anyway. Thank you to the Ferndale Area District Library, Affirmations, Main Street Oakland County, Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission, Ferndale Accessibility and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Ferndale Beautification Commission, Ferndale Historical Society, Ferndale Community Concert Band, Michigan Stage and everyone else we’ve worked with! Together we’ve proved that Ferndale is a community that thrives on unity.

Lastly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Ferndale DDA Board of Directors for their unwavering confidence in me and for providing me with this opportunity. Your support and guidance have been invaluable throughout this journey, and I am forever grateful. To my colleagues, partners, and the entire Ferndale community, I wish you all continued success, laughter, and joy as you continue to shape this remarkable city.

What’s Next? Sommer Realy has been appointed as the Acting Director by the DDA Board of Directors and the Ferndale City Council while the recruitment is underway. Sommer has been a force beside me since my first day, tirelessly working to enhance our community. Her contributions, from single handedly running the free PPE marketplace during the pandemic to launching our volunteer committee and spearheading our first downtown mural program, have left an indelible mark on Ferndale’s landscape.

I have every confidence that the DDA is in exceptional hands with Sommer at the helm, and I am immensely proud to have worked alongside her. The Ferndale DDA will continue to be a source of information and assistance when you need them. Reach out at [email protected] or 248-546-1632 anytime.  

With warmest regards,
Lena Stevens