Foundation For Excellence up for Discussion at October 24 Work Session

A formal agreement between the City of Kalamazoo and initial backers of the proposed Foundation for Excellence will be the topic of a City Commission Work Session to be held Monday, October 24. Commissioners will review a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the agreement and could vote on the Memorandum that evening. The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Anna Whitten Hall, Room 128, 202 N Rose Street.

In July, the City Commission directed City Manager Jim Ritsema to continue developing the Foundation for Excellence model and to bring a proposal to the City Commission for review. This Memorandum formally outlines the commitments, intentions, and expectations of all parties.

The MOU states that the donors agree to provide a donation of $70.3 million over the next three years; to generate support and contributions from additional donors for the Foundation for Excellence; to promote and support a goal of having the Foundation fully endowed within three years.

The City agrees to create a separate City-controlled fund to receive the initial donation; to create the non-profit Foundation for Excellence entity by August 31, 2017 into which the donation and future contributions will be deposited; to develop a budget for fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019 that incorporates a 12 mill tax rate; to allocate $10 million in each of those years to aspirational projects for youth development & poverty reduction, investments in capital and human infrastructure, and neighborhood improvement projects; to continue exploring further budgetary savings through shared services; and to develop best practices and measures to demonstrate the impact of the donation, efforts, and initiatives.

The meeting will be streamed live on the City’s Facebook page for those who are not able to attend in person. The draft Memorandum of Understanding is available at

Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell and City Manager Jim Ritsema will be available for interviews in advance of this work session. Media inquiries should be directed to the City Manager’s Office at (269) 337-8047.

pdf Memorandum of Understanding (105 KB)

MDOT to Continue Discussion of Transportation Improvements on October 20

The public is invited to participate in a second public open house to help define the purpose and need for road improvements within the downtown Kalamazoo Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study area. The area includes segments of Stadium Drive, Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo Avenue, Michikal Street, Riverview Drive, and Douglas Avenue. Comments from the initial open house are available pdf here (137 KB) .

Business owners
4 – 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
Metro Transit Center
530 N. Rose St.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is using the PEL process to determine future improvements within the downtown Kalamazoo study area: Stadium Drive between Howard Street and Michigan Avenue; Michigan Avenue between Stadium Drive and Kalamazoo Avenue; Kalamazoo Avenue between Douglas Avenue and Harrison Street; Michikal Street between Michigan Avenue and Kalamazoo Avenue; Riverview Drive between Harrison Street and Gull Road; and Douglas Avenue between West Main Street and Kalamazoo Avenue.

The PEL process is a planning tool used to streamline the project development process. It is an approach to transportation decision making that helps the community consider environmental, historical, cultural, and feasibility issues early in the transportation planning process. MDOT will share a draft document called the Purpose and Need to obtain public input that will help shape potential alternatives for addressing the transportation challenges in downtown Kalamazoo.

Residents, business owners and commuters are encouraged to attend and share ideas, suggestions and concerns as part of the planning process. The draft purpose and need was developed based on input from the first public meeting held in April 2016, will be available for public review and comment.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Application Period Open Through October 23

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is hiring Public Safety Officers for service beginning in May 2017. Applications may be submitted through Sunday, October 23 online ONLY at

To be considered, applicants must be U.S. citizens and have a High School Diploma or GED equivalent, a valid driver’s license, and be 21 years old at time of appointment. Applicants will also be required to pass written and physical tests, 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, among others.

Newly hired officers start at $18.76 per hour. Those who have already received their firefighter certifications will start at $20.62 per hour. 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. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety also offers a Spanish language hiring bonus, and Public Safety Officers are eligible for veteran on-the-job training education benefits and the federal direct student loan forgiveness program.

KDPS encourages Kalamazoo-area residents to apply, and will give consideration to applicants from our community. Applicants who have lived, worked, or have been educated in urban/diverse environments or with military service will also receive additional consideration.

Information about KDPS may is available at and questions can be submitted through the “Contact” link at the top of the Home Page.

City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.


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 (269) 337-8047
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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