City Commission Reaffirms its Commitment to Maintain a Welcoming Community

On March 21, 2016 the Kalamazoo City Commission issued a proclamation affirming that the City of Kalamazoo is a Welcoming Community and respects the innate dignity of all people.

The proclamation resolves, “…that the City of Kalamazoo is affirmed as a place where all foreign-born and native-born Americans can live, work, and play together; share in each other’s customs and ideals, and appreciate and promote cultural diversity. We urge residents and stakeholders of the Kalamazoo community to join with the efforts and spirit of the Welcoming Michigan Initiative and others to join in lifting up the City of Kalamazoo as a welcoming environment for all.”

Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema added, “Many people from across the globe come to Kalamazoo to work, learn, or make it their home and our entire community benefits from this diversity and cultural exchange. It creates opportunities to learn from the experiences of others and enriches life in the City. We want to continue to encourage these contributions to our community.”

Recent actions by the federal government have spurred a vigorous national debate about the enforcement of immigration law in the United States and have prompted questions from many community members about how these actions will affect our community and local law enforcement. The impact of these actions in the City of Kalamazoo was a topic of discussion during the February 6, 2017 City Commission meeting.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety General Order G-40 identifies procedures regarding contact with undocumented immigrants. This policy was revised in 2009 and has been in effect since that time. The policy states:

  • Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers lack jurisdiction in the enforcement of Federal immigration and naturalization laws.  Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers shall not arrest or detain anyone solely suspected of being an illegal alien, unless working in conjunction with federal agencies who have requested the assistance of KDPS. Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officers may seek information on immigration status if they are assisting Federal Agencies in the investigation of a criminal offense, or when immigration status is relevant to the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense.
  • Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officers are prohibited from soliciting information status from persons who are seeking police services or is the victim of  or witness to a crime.

The January 25 Executive Order by the Trump Administration, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to only use existing authority to enter into voluntary agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to perform immigration enforcement duties. The decision by KDPS to cooperate with Federal authorities on a suspected undocumented person(s) would be centered on public safety risk and not merely on someone’s “status”.  This is the long-standing position of KDPS and it is not impacted by this Executive Order.

“We want our operations and policies to engender trust within the community and not have certain communities live in fear of the police,” said Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley. “If certain communities fear the police it inherently makes them less safe, makes KDPS officers less safe and makes this community less safe. These policies are in the best interest of public safety and in the spirit of the City’s efforts to foster a welcoming community.”

Following the discussion of this issue at the February 6 City Commission meeting, Vice Mayor Don Cooney voiced his support for efforts to preserve Kalamazoo a welcoming city. “I was so proud to be one of over a thousand people who stood in that park yesterday in the freezing cold for more than two hours to declare that Kalamazoo is a welcoming city,” he said, referring to the Rally Against Islamophobia and for Muslim, Immigrant, and Refugee Rights held in Bronson Park on February 5. “That’s the message that we’re sending to the world”

City Commission Explores Foundation For Excellence at January Work Session

The Kalamazoo City Commission convened on January 23 to examine how projects and programs will be selected for funding by the Foundation For Excellence. City officials presented a clearer definition of what the term “aspirational” means in relation to potential FFE programs, and demonstrated how proposals will be evaluated. A scoring process takes into account each project or proposal’s impact on community results, as well as other attributes such as the portion of the community served, community partnerships involved, and the readiness of the project/program for implementation. The priorities of the City Commission also are a factor; proposals that align with their prioritized community results will be favored in the selection process.

With 2017 being the first year of the Foundation For Excellence, the selection process for projects and programs is being created as plans are made for this year. A draft summary of potential goals was provided at the January 23 work session which draws on the input obtained through the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 process. A variety of goals are included in the draft such as increasing the quantity of affordable housing, creating safer streets through traffic calming, improving and encouraging non-motorized commuting, expanding opportunities for youth employment & career exploration, and increasing community policing efforts.

The City Commission will continue discussing the Foundation For Excellence at their annual retreat on Saturday, March 4 at 8:30 a.m. in the Governing Board Room at Metro Transit (530 N Rose St). During the retreat proposed 2017 projects and programs will be presented, and the Commission will discuss 2017 priorities.

You can view the presentation slides here and the draft of potential Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 goals here.

Morgan Street Water Infrastructure Repair; Boil Water Advisory

The City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services has a scheduled water infrastructure repair near the intersection of Morgan Street and E. Cork Street, City of Kalamazoo. A precautionary boil water advisory is being issued in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department for all water intended for drinking within the affected area due to a temporary pressure loss that will occur within the water main during the repair. The affected area is as follows:

  • Morgan Street – All of Morgan Street between Cambridge Drive to the north and E. Cork Street to the south
  • E. Cork Street – From Cameron Street to the west, to Fulford Street to the east
  • Cambridge Drive – Limited to the south side of the intersection at Morgan Street
  • Sheridan Drive – Limited to the intersection at Morgan Street

This advisory is precautionary only; there have not been any confirmed tests showing bacteria present in the water main at the location of the break. Initial sampling results will be available within 24 hours of its collection and the final set within 48 hours. It is expected that the work will be completed on February 6 and the advisory will be lifted within 72 hours.

Municipal water customers in the affected area may boil their tap water for 2 minutes prior to use

Contacts:

City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services
Water Resources Division Manager
269-337-8737

Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department
Environmental Health Director
269-373-5337

Lifting of Homecrest Avenue Boil Water Advisory

Contacts:

City of Kalamazoo
Department of Public Services
269-337-8146

Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department
Environmental Health Director
269-373-5337

As of Friday, January 27, 2016, at 10:30 p.m., the precautionary boil water advisory issued January 25, 2017 has been lifted by the City of Kalamazoo, in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department. Citizens in the affected area that included all of Homecrest Avenue west of Portage Street, including the Heritage Community of Kalamazoo facility, can now use City water for consumption as well as all other purposes. Bacteriological sampling within the affected area verified that the water is safe to drink.

The understanding and cooperation of affected residents, businesses and institutions is much appreciated.

Homecrest Avenue Water Infrastructure Repair / Boil Water Advisory

Contacts:

City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services
Water Resources Division Manager
269-337-8737

Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department
Environmental Health Director

The City of Kalamazoo Department of Public Services responded to the need of a water infrastructure repair on Homecrest Avenue, City of Kalamazoo. A precautionary boil water advisory is being issued in cooperation with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department for all water intended for drinking within the affected area due to a pressure loss within the water main. The affected area is as follows:
All of Homecrest Avenue west of Portage Street. The affected area includes the Heritage Community of Kalamazoo facility. Norton Drive is not affected.

This advisory is precautionary only; there have not been any confirmed tests showing bacteria present in the water main at the location of the break. Initial sampling results will be available within 24 hours of its collection and the final set within 48 hours. It is expected that the advisory will be lifted within 72 hours.

Municipal water customers in the affected area may boil their tap water for 2 minutes prior to use for drinking. No special precautionary measures are necessary for water used for personal hygiene.

 

City Commission Approves FY2017 Budget

On January 17, the Kalamazoo City Commission unanimously approved the budget proposal for FY 2017.

The citywide Proposed FY 2017 Budget, issued by the Administration to the City Commission on December 1, 2016, initially totaled $147,368,761, with total General Fund expenditures of $57,960,076. Since December 1, 2016, changes have been required, resulting in a revised city-wide FY 2017 Proposed Budget of $148,011,073, with no change to the FY 2017 General Fund Budget of $57,960,076.

You can view the original budget proposal here. Additional information is available in the City Commission agenda report here.

KHPC Seeks Nominations for Historic Preservation Awards of Merit

The City of Kalamazoo’s Historic Preservation Commission is currently seeking nominations for Historic Preservation Awards of Merit.

For the last two decades the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KHPC) has presented awards to preservation related projects in the city of Kalamazoo. Past awards have recognized a diverse group of projects including the Ladies Library Association building, the restored neon sign on Paris Cleaners, infill houses by Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services, and both rental and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects in the River’s Edge area.

Historic preservation is an important part of the Kalamazoo we know and love and the KHPC acts to encourage and recognize the efforts made by local people to preserve our heritage and history. These awards also recognize individual people who have made a contribution to preservation (such as contractors and architects) and institutions with a track record of preserving their historic resources.

To be nominated for an award a project must:

  • be located in the city of Kalamazoo – the KHPC especially encourages nominations outside the historic districts.
  • maintain the historic character of the building or resource
  • have work substantially completed within the past five years
  • have a complete nomination submitted by Monday, March 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Complete details are included in the Nomination Packet, available from the City of Kalamazoo’s Historic Preservation Coordinator or online here. Nominations must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 6. An awards ceremony will be held in May to coincide with National Historic Preservation Month.

16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community-wide Day of Service

The City of Kalamazoo and Gryphon Place, in cooperation with and Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, will sponsor the 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community-Wide Day of Service on Monday, January 16, 2017.  The City is still looking for volunteers to participate in the event at non-profit and community organizations throughout Kalamazoo.

In addition to the community-wide day of service on January 16, a number of events will be held to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King and celebrate the theme, “The Transformative Power of a Unified Dream”. Events include:

Sunday, January 15, Northside Ministerial Alliance MLK Service

4:00 p.m. at Mt. Zion Baptists Church (120 Roberson St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007);  Keynote speaker Bishop John Franklin White, presiding prelate of the Fourth Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church and president of the AMEC Council of Bishops will highlight this community celebration.

Monday, January 16, MLK Park Day of Service

8:00 a.m. at City Hall; Anyone who would like to volunteer is encouraged to come to City Hall and sign up with Gryphon Place.  Citizens can sign up prior to the 16th at http://www.gryphon.org/events

Monday, January 16, March to MLK Park

3:30 p.m. at the flagpole at Kanley Chapel, WMU; to Kalamazoo College Red Square, corner of Thompson and Academy streets, at 4 p.m.; to MLK Park, corner of Rose Street and West Michigan Avenue, at 4:30 p.m.

Monday, January 16, Bronson Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebrations

5:00 p.m. at the Radisson Plaza Hotel – Arcadia Ballroom; All individuals, businesses and organizations are invited to join this gathering to reflect and celebrate “The Transformative Power of a United Dream.”  This short, family-friendly program featuring local performers and speakers is an opportunity to connect as a community in a unique way.  We hope that you are able to participate in this event and also encourage others to attend.

Tuesday, January 17, Presentation of Dr. Lewis Walker Youth Social Justice Awards

7:00 p.m. at City Hall during the scheduled City Commission Meeting;

For additional information about the MLK Day of Service, contact the City of Kalamazoo City Manager’s Office at (269) 337-8082 or mlkday@kalamazoocity.org. The City of Kalamazoo would like to extend our gratitude to the sponsors of this year’s event Envirologic, Fifth Third Bank, MacKenzie’s Bakery, PlazaCorp, Schupan and Sons, Zoetis, and the City of Kalamazoo’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.