Category Archives: Kalamazoo Featured News

Delivery of Recycling Carts to begin Monday, September 18

Delivery of new 95-gallon recycling carts to City of Kalamazoo residents will begin on Monday, September 18. The new carts are part of the City’s conversion to a single stream recycling program, which will take effect on October 2.

Carts will be delivered to all residences that opted into the single stream recycling program. Notice of the change and opt-in information was mailed to each residence in August. Residents who wish to participate but have not yet opted into the program can request a cart by emailing recycle@kalamazoocity.org or by calling the City of Kalamazoo’s Public Services Department at (269) 337-8215.

Residents are advised that although they may receive their new cart as early as September 18, the carts will not be serviced until the single stream program begins in October. Until then, the smaller 18-gallon bins should continue to be used for pickup.

Each cart will be delivered with information about the recycling program, including which items can and cannot be recycled and the new collection schedule.

Following the change to single stream, collection will change from weekly to bi-weekly. Households designated in area A on the collection schedule will have their first pick-up the week of October 2 and every other week thereafter. Households designated in area B on the schedule will have their first pick-up the week of October 9 and every other week thereafter. The recycling schedule and other program information is also available in the View from the Curb.

Residents are encouraged to download the free Recycle Coach app to get customized schedules and program information as well as information about which items are recyclable. Information is available at www.kalamazoocity.org/recycling.

Single Stream Recycling Brochure

City Commission Meeting to take place at Hays Park on Monday, September 18

The Kalamazoo City Commission will meet for their regularly scheduled neighborhood and business meetings on September 18, 2017 at Hays Park, located at 2001 Miller Road. On street parking is available near the park.

The neighborhood meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the business meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Before the meetings begin, residents are invited to come to the park for a community picnic beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Free hotdogs will be provided by Smoked Down BBQ while supplies last.

A B&W Charter bus will be departing from City Hall at 5:45 and 6:45 to take residents to and from Hays Park for the meetings. The bus will return to City Hall following the business meeting’s conclusion.

This meeting will not be broadcast live but will be recorded and made available on the City’s YouTube Channel and played on Public Media Network after a brief production period.

In the event of inclement weather, the meeting will be moved to the City Commission Chambers at City Hall.

Founding Documents of the Foundation for Excellence Officially Signed

The legal documents that will establish the new Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence (FFE) were officially signed on Wednesday, August 23  by lead donors Bill Johnston  and Bill Parfet and Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell and City Manager James K. Ritsema.  Hopewell and Ritsema represented the City in the signing of the Articles of Incorporation, which the Kalamazoo City Commission approved during its meeting on Monday, August 21, 2017.

The initial donors to the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence, Johnston and Parfet, will now become co-chairs of a fundraising campaign tasked with raising upwards of $500 million dollars from corporations, individuals, private foundations, and other interested parties by 2019. Along with the articles of incorporation, a letter of intent signed by the co-chairs will serve as a guideline for a future fifteen-member Board of Directors, nine of whom must reside in Kalamazoo, as they carry out their duties to disperse foundation funds to the City.

The FFE is structured to operate solely for the benefit of the City of Kalamazoo and is believed to be the first entity of its kind in the nation. It will allow for the private sector to make “charitable type” donations to a municipal body (the City of Kalamazoo) in order to support and supplement its normal sources of revenue, thereby aiding dramatically in the City’s ability to flourish.   The FFE is a historic shift from one of scarcity, tough choices, and financial uncertainty to one focused on improving lives in our community, investing in our City, and creating a brighter future.  The FFE intends to complement existing philanthropic efforts in Kalamazoo and to seek opportunities to align the funding community around common goals to achieve greater impact, particularly for those residents experiencing the greatest need.

In recent years, Kalamazoo’s municipal budget has faced structural shortfalls of income created by cutbacks in support from the State of Michigan, reduced property values, and declining employment. As a result, the City has been forced to cover the income gap by cutting back on services such as public safety and road repairs.

The Foundation for Excellence provides funding each year for aspirational projects, alleviating generational poverty, and realizing the community vision that was established in the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Visioning Process that resulted in the City’s new Strategic Vision and Master Plan. These documents were shaped by 3,800 community contacts over an 18 month period with the intention of lifting up the voices of residents in City planning processes.  FFE funding will expedite progress towards Imagine Kalamazoo goals and move the City in a direction that is consistent with our community values.

In 2017, FFE funding has been approved for three park improvements projects, the accelerated removal of lead water services, repairing and building sidewalks, additional tree trimming, and three key Parks & Recreation programs that provide educational and employment opportunities for youth. Property owners have also already seen the effect of the FFE on their summer property tax statements.

“This unique and innovative approach to making Kalamazoo a dynamic and successful community for all is very exciting” said campaign co – chair Bill Johnston. “This collaborative citizen driven planning approach to forming “Imagine Kalamazoo 2025″ is energizing. The challenges and opportunities before us are both significant and amazing. Through the Foundation for Excellence as a supporting organization for our great City we now have the mechanism to provide significant program support for the City of Kalamazoo that creates a model that lifts families and breaks the cycle of generational poverty. I am very optimistic that individuals, businesses, private and community foundations will eagerly contribute to this wonderful opportunity before us.”

Information on the Kalamazoo Foundation For Excellence can be found at http://www.kalamazoocity.org/ffe.

FFE Donor Intent, Signed August 23, 2017

FFE Articles of Incorporation, Signed August 23, 2017

FFE Bylaws, Signed August 25, 2017

KDPS, Sheriff Announce 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Submission

Kalamazoo Public Safety and the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office will be submitting a joint application for the 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). The local solicitation in the amount of $85,242 will be used in support of law enforcement equipment for local law enforcement personnel and communication equipment for the Kalamazoo County Jail.  The goal of these programs and initiatives is to improve and enhance the criminal justice system in the City of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo County.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (42 U.S.C. 3751(a)) is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system, from multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces to crime prevention and domestic violence programs, courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.

The City of Kalamazoo and County of Kalamazoo invite the public to comment on the 2017 JAG application. A copy of the application is available for review at Kalamazoo Public Safety, located at 150 E. Crosstown Pkwy, Suite A, Kalamazoo, Michigan.  This draft document will be available through September 28, 2017.  For further information, please call (269) 337-8123.  Comments concerning the JAG application may be addressed to:

Ryan Tibbets
Assistant Chief – Fire Administration/Finance
Kalamazoo Public Safety
150 E. Crosstown Pkwy, Suite A
Kalamazoo, MI  49001

Public Safety Application Period to Open October 4

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety will be hiring additional Public Safety Officers beginning in May 2018. Applications may be submitted between October 4 through October 17, 2017 online ONLY at https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/kalamazoomi.

To be considered, applicants must be a U.S. citizen and have a High School Diploma or GED equivalent, a valid driver’s license, and be 21 years old at time of appointment (May 1, 2018). Applicants will also be required to pass a written and physical test, and an extensive background investigation. Applicants are not required to be MCOLES (Police) certified to apply.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers are cross trained as police officers, firefighters, and medical first responders. They respond to calls for police, fire, and medical emergencies, along with other duties.

Advancement/additional opportunities include Detective, Canine Handler, Community Policing Officer, Narcotics Investigator, Crime Lab Technician, SWAT Team, Bomb Squad, Honor Guard, and Command Officer.

Applicants do not need to have prior police or fire certifications to be considered; KDPS will sponsor them through the police academy and provide fire training if needed. A training wage may apply to those who need to attend the Police Academy. Additional benefits include a Spanish language hiring bonus, veteran on-the-job training education benefits and the federal direct student loan forgiveness program.

For those interested, candidates are encouraged to fill out a “Job Interest Card” available at https://kalamazoopublicsafety.org/about/employment/ which will send notification when the application process begins.
Information about KDPS is available at www.kalamazoopublicsafety.org and questions can be submitted through the “Contact” link at the top of the Home Page.

Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Master Plan Available for Comment

City of Kalamazoo planning staff have released a draft of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Master Plan for public review and comment.

The plan is the culmination of 16 months of extensive community engagement that included every neighborhood in the City. Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 hosted open houses and meetings, attended community picnics, conducted online surveys, and participated in Art Hops and other events to speak with community members about their vision for Kalamazoo’s future. Throughout the process more than 3,500 voices were heard.

Community members are invited to review the document and offer their comments and feedback to City Planning staff for review. Comments can be offered online via Open Town Hall or by emailing Kalamazoo City Planner Christina Anderson at andersonc@kalamazoocity.org. The comment period is open through Friday, September 15.

City staff will be hosting an open house at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts on Tuesday, September 12 at 7 p.m. to review and discuss the draft Master Plan with community members. Additional details about this open house will be announced when they become available.

“We are excited to finally be able to share the results of Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 and look forward to hearing what people think,” said Rebekah Kik, Director of Community Planning & Development for the City of Kalamazoo. “But we’re even more excited to start working to achieve the goals laid out in the plan.”

After review and consideration of feedback received during the public comment period, the draft Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Master Plan will be presented for approval. The plan will need approval first by the Planning Commission and if adopted, final approval by the City Commission. City staff anticipate the plan will be presented in October.

City staff would like to thank everyone who has participated in the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 process. Without an engaged community that is committed to a brighter future in our city, this collaborative effort would not have been possible.

The Master Plan is divided into five sections:

  1. MP Introduction DRAFT
  2. Connected City DRAFT
  3. Great Neighborhoods DRAFT
  4. Downtown Life DRAFT
  5. Imagine Kalamazoo at Work

Full size land development map and legend:

Additional information:

City Commission Approves Switch to Single Stream Recycling Program

Starting this October, City of Kalamazoo residents won’t need to worry about sorting their recyclables, thanks to the approval of a contact for single stream recycling services by the City Commission at its July 17 meeting.

The ten-year contract with Republic Services will see the City’s recycling program convert from dual to single stream, meaning that paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal can be mixed together for pickup. The program will also transition from weekly collection of 18-gallon recycling bins, to bi-weekly collection of 95-gallon carts.

These changes will make Kalamazoo’s recycling program even more convenient for residents. The acceptance of mixed items in larger carts means that more items can be recycled, and the carts can be rolled to the curb more easily than the bins currently in use. Bi-weekly collection will also lower the number of collection trucks needed on city streets.

Each household’s collection day will remain the same, but will start occurring on alternating weeks following the change. Carts should be wheeled to the curb by 6:00 a.m. on the scheduled collection day, but no sooner than one day prior to collection.  Remove your recycling cart from the curblawn no later than 11:00 p.m. of the day of your collection. Residents are encouraged to use the Recycle Coach app to be reminded of their collection day and receive other important notices.

Households will need to request a cart to opt-in to the program. Each household will be notified of the upcoming changes to the recycling program by mail. Shortly after, an opt-in postcard will be mailed with instructions to request a cart. City staff will be working with community groups to help raise awareness and encourage households to participate. City staff will also host an open house to answer questions and assist residents that may need help requesting a bin (details to be announced).

Opt-in information will be sent to the managers of registered rentals properties. Owners or managers of multi-unit properties can also contact (269) 337-8215 for more information about recycling for their tenants. Tenants that want to participate should notify their property manager.

Initial notice of the program change will be mailed the first week of August, with opt-in instructions sent the following week. To ensure timely delivery of carts, please request your cart by September 1.

Delivery of recycling carts will begin on September 18. Each cart will be delivered with program information and a collection schedule attached. Residents are welcome to keep their existing bin or drop it off to Republic Services at 3432 Gembrit Circle. After the change takes place in October, recyclables placed out in bins will no longer be collected.

Residents are reminded to clean recyclables before placing them in the cart, and ensure that only recyclable materials are collected. Contamination of recycling can require otherwise recyclable items to be taken to a landfill. The Recycle Coach app can also help determine which items are recyclable and which are not.

The City of Kalamazoo’s recycling program is funded by a Solid Waste Millage and does not require any additional payment or user fees to participate. A 2015 survey of residents indicated strong support for moving to a single stream program. All residents are encouraged to participate and help reduce the amount of waste that our community sends to landfills.

 

Contact:
City of Kalamazoo Public Services
(269) 337-8215
cokpublicservices@kalamazoocity.org

Draft Medical Marihuana Ordinances

The City of Kalamazoo is currently drafting three ordinances related to medical marihuana. In summary, the three proposed ordinances would:

  1. Amend the current City zoning code provisions permitting a registered caregiver under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act to operate as a home occupation so as to bring the ordinance in conformance with recent legislative and regulatory changes.
  2. Amend the City zoning code to define those zoning districts where proposed commercial medical marihuana facilities, as permitted by the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, may be located in the City.
  3. Amend the City code of ordinances to set licensing and operational standards for commercial medical marihuana facilities operating in the City.

Two public input sessions were held in July to obtain feedback on the proposals.  These ordinances will be presented to the Planning Commission and subsequently to the City Commission for consideration and possible adoption in September or October.

Medical Marihuana Public Forum Feedback

Proposed Ordinance Drafts:

Draft Maps (updated September 1, 2017):

City Seeks Applicants for the Citizen-Public Safety Review and Appeals Board

The City of Kalamazoo is currently seeking applicants to fill six at-large seats on the Citizen-Public Safety Review and Appeals Board (CPSRAB).

Citizen complaints filed with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety are investigated and reviewed by the Office of Professional Conduct before a decision is made by the Public Safety Chief. A citizen may appeal this decision, which is then reviewed by the City Manager. The CPSRAB was created to provide input and feedback prior to a decision being made by the City Manager. The board also acts in and advisory capacity to assist the City Manager in building community trust by making recommendations to improve communications and outreach.

CPSRAB membership consists of twelve members appointed by the City Manager for two-year terms.  Six members are chosen from community organizations representing diverse populations such as: Family Health Center, Mothers of Hope, Hispanic American Council, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Northside Ministerial Alliance, OutFront Kalamazoo and Michigan United. The remaining six board positions are at-large members.

At-large members are asked to serve a two-year term and commit to attending monthly meetings and/or training sessions and occasionally special meetings as necessary to meet appeal deadlines.

Applications can be submitted online at http://www.kalamazoocity.org/cpsrab or picked up from the City Manager’s Office at City Hall. Completed applications must be returned later than July 31, 2017.

 

Free Public Wi-Fi Comes to Bronson Park

Starting later today, Friday, July 14, visitors to Bronson Park will be able to take advantage of free public Wi-Fi. This new amenity will go live during Lunchtime Live! and remain available to everyone within the park moving forward.

Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell will announce the new service today at noon from the Rotary Stage.

“Access to the services and information available on the internet is increasingly becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity in our lives, whether we’re applying for a job, paying our bills, or studying for class,” said Mayor Hopewell. “We are excited to start offering Wi-Fi in Bronson Park, but this is only the first step in the work ahead to ensure that every resident of our city has access to these resources.”

Beyond providing access for park visitors, connectivity will enhance events that take place in the park.

“Public Wi-Fi in the park will be absolutely fabulous when we have our concerts on Thursdays and Saturdays,” noted Beth McCann, Deputy Director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. “The audience can connect to social media, share pictures and video, and invite their friends on the spot.”

She continued, “Wi-Fi would also be fabulous for commerce. Whenever there is an art show, fair or festival and someone needs to run a credit card, having Wi-Fi would help facilitate that transaction.”

“Due to its central location, frequent events, and proximity to City Hall, Bronson Park was a logical place to pilot public Wi-Fi,” explained Tim Clark the City of Kalamazoo’s Chief Information Officer, “but we are planning to offer this service at other locations as part of a broader effort to connect our community and invest in 21st century infrastructure.”

Wi-Fi was among the amenities requested during the Bronson Park Master Planning Process that took place in 2015. A capital campaign is currently underway to raise funds to make the more extensive improvements outlined in the plan.

Residents are encouraged to attend Lunchtime Live! to enjoy lunch in Bronson Park and take of advantage of this new free service today, and during all future visits to the park.