Project to document Kalamazoo’s historic buildings will resume after year-long delay due to COVID-19
In March, the City of Kalamazoo will relaunch Inventory Kalamazoo, a city-wide historic resources survey to document the condition of every building in the City. The project originally started in early 2020 but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To complete the historic resources survey, the City of Kalamazoo and the Historic Preservation Commission are asking for volunteers to help photograph and document the existing condition of every building in the City that is visible from the public right of way. Volunteers will use a smart phone or tablet when surveying buildings on their street or in their neighborhoods and can complete the survey at their convenience between March 15 and the end of May.
Community members who are interested in volunteering can learn more by visiting the Imagine Kalamazoo project page at www.imaginekalamazoo.com/projects/inventory. The project page includes an overview presentation with background on the project, field instructions that explain how to complete the survey, and a volunteer sign up form. The City of Kalamazoo’s Historic Preservation Coordinator, Sharon Ferraro, will reach out to those who have signed up to determine street assignments and distribute volunteer materials. Each volunteer will receive an Inventory Kalamazoo backpack, stylus, and informational letters that explain the survey to neighbors that may have questions. Volunteers can either use a tablet provided by the City or their own device to survey if they have a smartphone or tablet that can run the survey software.
In addition to building data, Inventory Kalamazoo volunteers will also help collect information on the condition of sidewalks and street trees. This will help inform tree canopy data for the City and plan future sidewalk repair work. Data collected through the Inventory Kalamazoo project will also help inform neighborhood planning efforts that are underway.
“The survey will rely on volunteers to help with this inventory, surveying in your own neighborhood or getting to know another neighborhood across town,” stated Sharon Ferraro, the City of Kalamazoo’s Historic Preservation Coordinator. “Find a friend and get outside in the fresh air, doing something that’s both interesting and helps our community. Kalamazoo will be the only city in Michigan with a comprehensive, city-wide survey.”
Volunteers will be required to wear masks when interacting with others and are advised to be cautious and follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when surveying such as social distancing, frequently washing or sanitizing hands, covering coughs or sneezes, and staying home if they are feeling sick or have been around anyone exposed to COVID-19. Volunteers are also reminded to dress warmly, check the weather, and plan ahead if surveying in cold weather.
About Inventory Kalamazoo
The City’s 2025 Master Plan calls for a complete survey of historic buildings and resources to record and evaluate their condition. This inventory will not automatically impact any historic designation of properties but will serve as a baseline of understanding for potential historic designations initiated by the neighborhood and other planning projects. This survey will also allow the City to fulfill its requirement as a Certified Local Government (CLG), a State certification that makes the City eligible to apply for grants from the CLG Grant Fund, as well as satisfy obligations to the State Historic Preservation Office and the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
The last inventory of this level was completed between 1999 and 2001. Moving forward, the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Master Plan calls for an updated Historical survey every 10 years. For more information on this project please visit the Imagine Kalamazoo website at www.imaginekalamazoo.com/projects/inventory/