Category Archives: Kalamazoo Featured News

National Night Out Against Crime to be held Tuesday, August 1

On Tuesday, August 1st, citizens throughout Kalamazoo are invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for National Night Out 2017: America’s Night Out Against Crime.

This year celebrates the 34th Annual National Night Out event. On this occasion, residents in neighborhoods throughout Kalamazoo and across the nation are asked to promote police-community partnerships; crime, drug, and violence prevention; safety; and neighborhood unity.  Many neighborhoods will be hosting a variety of special events such as block parties, cookouts, and youth activities.

Events in the City of Kalamazoo will be hosted by the following neighborhoods:

EASTSIDE - Neighborhood Association, Rockwell Park 1106 Trimble St from 5-7 PM.

EDISON - Neighborhood Association, 816 Washington from 5:30-6:30 PM.

NORTHSIDE - Neighborhood Association 612 N. Park from 6-8 PM.

VINE – Neighborhood Association, Vine St. at Locust from 5:30-7:30 PM.

MILWOOD - Neighborhood Association Greenwood Reformed Church, 1815 Winton from 6-8 PM.

PARKVIEW HILLS – Parkview Hills Club House; 3307 Green Leaf Blvd from 7-9 PM.

STUART- Neighborhood Association Elm St. Park (Westmain/Elm) St from 6-8 PM.

ARCADIA -Neighborhood Association @ Arcadia Elementary 932 Boswell Ln 6-8 PM

Americana Estates -  1802 Tray Lane (near playground) 6:00PM- 8:00PM

National Night Out is an enjoyable way to promote neighborhood spirit. On August 1st, 2017, we invite citizens to celebrate with us and their fellow neighbors.

City Commission to Discuss Foundation for Excellence at July 24 Work Session

On Monday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m. the Kalamazoo City Commission will convene for a work session focused on the Foundation for Excellence. The work session will be held in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall and will be televised live on Public Media Network Channel 187 and streamed on the City of Kalamazoo’s YouTube Channel.

The specific focus of the meeting will be the proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation for the new Foundation for Excellence. Since the FFE was approved in October 2016, City staff have explored best practices and worked with community partners and donors to draft the legal structure and rules of the Foundation. They will be presented to the City Commission for review and discussion and could be presented for approval as early as the August 7 meeting.

The documents spell out the details of how the FFE will operate, such as how the Board of Directors and Officers are selected, how meetings are scheduled and conducted, how projects are ultimately chosen for funding and the relationship between the FFE and the City Commission.

“We did our homework before preparing these documents and have consulted with our community partners, the Michigan Council of Foundations and reviewed other foundations across the country with similar missions,” explained City Manager Jim Ritsema. “The structure and bylaws we will present will set the FFE up for long-term success and provide funding to make our aspirations a reality.”

The proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation are available here.

In addition to $70.3 million to fund a three-year transition period through 2019, the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the lead donors included a commitment to assist in a fundraising effort to raise the approximately $500 million needed to fully endow the Foundation and sustain its work in perpetuity. After the documents are approved, this fundraising effort will begin and the Foundation’s Board of Directors will be selected.

Several Kalamazoo residents have already shown their support for the Foundation’s work by electing to donate a portion of their 2017 property tax savings back to the FFE.

“We are continuing to see strong support for the Foundation for Excellence and for the important investments that it will enable in our city,” said Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell. “With each step in the progress we are getting closer and closer to ensuring this will continue for generations to come, making our city a better place and helping all in our community to realize their potential.”

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

Public Input Sought on Draft Medical Marihuana Ordinances

The City of Kalamazoo will hold two public forums to gather citizen input on three proposed ordinances addressing medical marihuana. The forums will be held Wednesday, July 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Thursday, July 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both events will take place in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 241 West South Street. City administrators will be present to provide an overview of the ordinances and to take comments and questions from those in attendance.

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.

After receiving citizen input from the public forums, any changes to the proposed ordinances will be presented to the Planning Commission and subsequently to the City Commission for consideration and possible adoption in September or October.

Proposed Ordinance Drafts:

Ordinance to Add Chapter 20B “Medical Marihuana Facilities” to the City of Kalamazoo Code of Ordinances

Ordinance to Amenda Section 4.3 Addressing Medical Marihuana as a Home Occupation

Ordinance to Amend Sections 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 of the City of Kalamazoo Zoning Ordinance Regarding the Location of Medical Marijuana Facilities

 

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.

Draft Strategic Plan Available

, City staff is looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the City-wide Strategic Vision for the City of Kalamazoo. Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 has been working hard for 16 months to gather information to define the future direction of the community. Please download the document, visit City Hall, or Community Planning & Development to read a copy. We are happy to have your comments by email, writing, or by phone. We will close comments on July 7, 2017. We will be presenting the final document to the City Commission on July 17, 2017 for final adoption.

Strategic Vision Draft, Updated June 19 2017

City Continues Replacement of Lead Water Services

On June 5, the Kalamazoo City Commission unanimously approved $1,656,509 to accelerate the replacement of lead water services within the City of Kalamazoo Public Water Supply System. Of the total funding, $500,000 was appropriated from Foundation for Excellence funds and will be used to accelerate replacement of services within the City.

The City of Kalamazoo and its contractors are currently in the process of replacing lead water services with plans to replace approximately 400 in 2017. This level of replacements represents a roughly four times more than previous years.

More than half of the lead services planned for replacement are located in Kalamazoo Township and will be removed by contractors in conjunction with Kalamazoo County Road Commission street construction projects.

Streets planned for lead service removals within Kalamazoo Township include Bronx Avenue, Dartmouth Avenue, Dayton Avenue, Sunnyside Drive, Texel Drive, Waverly Drive, Gertrude Street, Charles Avenue, Andora Avenue, Ann Street, Berkley Street, Carleton Avenue, Egleston Avenue, Grove Street, Lamont Avenue, Sonora Street, Stewart Drive, Westwood Drive, and Willis Avenue.

Contractors will also be performing replacements within the City of Kalamazoo on Locust Street, Bryant Street, Lane Street, Lane Alley, Cameron Street, Francis Court, Hazel Avenue, Midvale Terrace, Oakland Drive, Parkwood Avenue, Portage Street, and Vine Street.

City of Kalamazoo staff will also replace lead water services along West Main Street, Church Street, and others areas based on the results of water quality sampling.  As construction season progresses, additional streets may be added based on the availability of resources.

Customers that will see their services replaced this year will receive notification in advance of this work either in person or via a door hanger, and be provided the opportunity coordinate the timing of the work in accordance with their schedule. If no response is received from the customer, the replacement will still occur, which requires water service to be temporarily shut off. A typical replacement requires water service to be disconnected for approximately six hours. Customers are strongly encouraged to respond to these notices and coordinate replacements to avoid unnecessary disruption of water service.

The City of Kalamazoo’s public water supply system provides 17 million gallons of clean and safe water on an average day to approximately 123,000 customers within 10 jurisdictions. The City has had measures in place since 1956 to reduce water corrosiveness to components containing lead and copper, however staff continue to make progress towards the goal of replacing all lead services in the system. A proactive capital improvement program has been in place for over twenty years for this purpose.

The City of Kalamazoo greatly appreciates the patience and cooperation of affected customers throughout the process of replacing lead water services.