imaginekalamazoo.com Reimagined as "One Stop" for Public Input

To encourage public participation in planning and decision making, City Planning Staff have redesigned www.imaginekalamazoo.com to serve as a single online resource for public information and engagement.

The website will continue to serve as an online medium to share ideas and feedback and will also provide background information about projects and list events and opportunities to get involved. Stories, updates, and outcomes will also be available for projects that are underway or completed.

The Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Strategic Vision and Master Plan update will remain the focus of the website throughout the project’s conclusion in mid-2017. The implementation of Imagine Kalamazoo and progress towards goals will then be followed, with other planning topics and City projects becoming available for input as they arise.

“Our community members are taking time out of their already busy schedules to share their ideas and input,” said City Planner Rebekah Kik. “Our goal is to reach everyone who wants to participate and make getting involved easy and convenient. By combining these various resources at imaginekalamazoo.com, Kalamazoo’s visionaries can share their feedback and stay informed with a quick trip to a single website.”

The current topics available for online input at www.imaginekalamazoo.com are a part of the second phase of Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, “Plan It!” In addition to online feedback, two public workshops that were held during this phase drew over 300 community members. At other events more than 600 surveys were turned in, and every neighborhood in Kalamazoo has been represented in the process.  During the initial “Imagine It!” phase earlier this year, over 1,400 total community members were heard from either online, at events, or during a “Meeting on the Go”.

After the conclusion of the “Plan It!” phase, project actions for the Master Plan will be drafted in the “Design It!” phase. The draft projects will be created at individual neighborhood meetings throughout the winter. In late January another city-wide meeting will bring everyone together to review and comment on these actions and projects before they are finalized.

Community members are encouraged to visit www.imaginekalamazoo.com to stay informed as Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 progresses and continue to share ideas and feedback throughout the project.

City Clerk's Office to Offer Evening, Saturday Hours

The Kalamazoo City Clerk’s Office will shift its normal office hours on Thursday, October 27 and Thursday, November 3 to facilitate absentee voting.  On these dates the City Clerk’s Office will be open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in order to accommodate voters who need to obtain and/or drop-off last-minute absentee ballots and cannot visit the Clerk’s Office during normal business hours.  Please note that on these days the Clerk’s Office will open at 12:00 p.m. rather than 8:00 a.m.

In addition to the evening hours listed above, the City Clerk’s Office will also be open on Saturday, November 5th from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to facilitate absentee voting.

Absent voter ballots are available in the Kalamazoo City Clerk’s Office for people who are registered to vote in the City and who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Voters who are over 60 years old
  • Voters who expect to absent from the community
  • Voters who are physically unable to attend the polls
  • Voters who cannot attend the polls due to the tenants of their religion
  • Voters who are assigned as election inspectors in precincts other than where they reside

The last day to obtain an absentee ballot in the City Clerk’s Office is Monday, November 7 by 4 p.m.  Ballots obtained on this day must be voted in the office.

Ballots may be requested by mail until 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 5.  However, voters are advised that requesting a ballot by mail at this late date rarely offers enough time to complete the absentee voting process. All ballots must be received in the Clerk’s Office by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

City Commission Approves Foundation For Excellence Agreement

At a Special Work Session Held on October 24, the Kalamazoo City Commission voted to approve an initial agreement for the creation of the proposed Foundation For Excellence.

The agreement is outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Kalamazoo and the Foundation’s lead donors. After it was introduced on July 28, the City Commission directed City Manager Jim Ritsema to continue developing the Foundation For Excellence model and bring a proposal to the Commission for review. This MOU is the first step in that process and will provide a basis for the more detailed work to come.

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.

Rob Collier, the President and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations, attended the October 17 City Commission meeting to offer suggestions for the development of the Foundation For Excellence, and also provided advice in a  pdf (133 KB) Letter to Mayor Hopewell and City Manager Jim Ritsema. City Officials will continue consulting with other foundations and subject matter experts to ensure the Foundation is structured in the optimal way to benefit all members of our community in perpetuity.

City Officials will now begin establishing the legal rules that will govern and regulate the activities of the Foundation. The final plan will be returned to the City Commission for approval before the Foundation For Excellence is officially created.

More information on the Foundation For Excellence is available at www.kalamazoocity.org/foundation.

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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     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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