Community survey reveals broad support for Foundation for Excellence

A survey of Kalamazoo residents conducted in August revealed strong community support for the Foundation for Excellence concept and an overall favorable view of the direction the City is heading.

80% of respondents were supportive of the Foundation for Excellence proposal, with consistent support across all demographics.  74% of respondents felt things in Kalamazoo are heading in the right direction, with only 20% responding that the City is on the wrong track.

Washington D.C. based Lake Research Partners designed and administered the survey, which was conducted by professional interviewers over telephone. The survey reached a total of 400 citizens in the City of Kalamazoo from August 9 through August 14. Telephone numbers for this survey were drawn using file audits and the sample was stratified geographically to reflect the population of Kalamazoo. The margin of error for the survey is +/-4.9%.

City officials initiated the survey to gain a better understanding of opinions on the Foundation for Excellence proposal and what aspects are important to Kalamazoo residents.

“These results are encouraging and reflect much of what we have been hearing, but I understand that some members of our community still have concerns,” said City Manager Jim Ritsema, “We are consulting with experts and foundations with similar purposes to ensure best practices are incorporated as we work on the details. I look forward to sharing them with the community as they take shape, and am confident that these concerns will be alleviated by the final proposal.”

City Officials may bring a Memorandum of Understanding for formal review by the City Commission as early as the September 19 meeting.

pdf Lake Research Partners Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence Survey, August 2016 (368 KB)

80 headstones vandalized at Riverside Cemetery, reward offered for information

At approximately 1:30pm, Monday, August 22 City of Kalamazoo staff were notified of potential vandalism at Riverside Cemetery. Upon notification staff visited the cemetery to assess and document any potential damage, initially estimating that over 40 headstones had been vandalized. Due to the severity of the incident, a report was filed with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety who determined that 80 headstones had been affected in total. While some toppling of headstones is expected, this level of vandalism is unprecedented in either of Kalamazoo’s city cemeteries.

City staff will be seeking quotes to have the headstones that were not broken moved back into place. Headstones that have been chipped, scratched, broken, or otherwise damaged will have to remain “as is” unless the decision is made by the family to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action. A list of affected monuments is available  pdf here (74 KB) .

City staff and Kalamazoo Public Safety are asking our community for help in identifying the perpetrator(s) of this crime. Staff believe the vandalism would have taken place sometime between Saturday, August 20 and Monday, August 22. With each square foot of granite weighing up to 250 pounds, the perpetrator(s) were likely experiencing physical exhaustion in the days following this vandalism as some of the monuments toppled weigh over 1,000 pounds. City staff are encouraging community members to share this story and asking anyone that may have noticed something suspicious, overheard bragging, or could provide any other information to come forward and help identify the perpetrator(s). The City of Kalamazoo is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the prosecution and conviction of the perpetrator(s).

If you have any information about this crime please contact the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety at (269) 337-8994 or Silent Observer at (269) 343-2100 or visit

Kalamazoo River expected to crest at 7.6 feet on Thursday, August 18

The National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service Hydrograph for the Kalamazoo River Gauge Station at Comstock (nearest gauge station) predicts that the river will crest at approximately 7.6 feet on Thursday afternoon, nearly 2 feet above the Tuesday afternoon reading of 5.71 feet.  This information is subject to change as new data comes in; dam operations upstream at the Marrow dam may also affect the river elevation.

The operator of the Morrow Dam indicated that they intended to release additional water from the dam at approximately 4:30 pm today, and again at approximately 08:00 am Wednesday morning. It is estimated that these releases could cause the Kalamazoo River to rise 8 inches to 1 foot approximately 1-2 hours after each release.

With these scheduled releases the Kalamazoo River elevation is not expected to deviate beyond the predicted crest of 7.6 feet (Comstock gauge).

As the Kalamazoo River rises, adjoining creeks such as Portage Creek and Axtell Creek may continue to rise and flood due to the inability of the creek water to flow into the Kalamazoo River.

City of Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo County Office of Emergency Management staff continue to monitor the river and creek levels. Drivers are again cautioned to avoid driving through flooded streets as the water may be deeper than it appears.

You can view real time Kalamazoo River data from the National Weather Service at the following link:

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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