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Kalamazoo will spend $10 million to improve community

Apr 12, 2017

Kalamazoo will present design concepts and a strategy for the future of its downtown at a community open house tonight. The city is setting aside $10 million to spend on community-building projects over the next ten years.

The plan, called Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, started last year. The Kalamazoo City Council held a planning session Monday night to hear ideas for how to spend the money, which will be funded through a non-profit foundation.

On Tuesday, citizens met with various city planners, elected officials, and staffers to participate in the planning process. Using maps, residents were encouraged to mark their favorite parts of downtown, and to indicate areas were they want to see improvement.

The goal of Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 is to create neighborhood outreach and shared prosperity, with a focus on ending the cycle of poverty and uplifting youth. The city has been slow to recover since the Great Recession, and poverty rates have risen over the last 15 years.

Citizens have been submitting input since January 2016. Commissioners and a handful of residents used those comments to workshop preliminary ideas for how to spend the money. 

Tonight's presentation is from 4 to 6 p.m. A final vote on the plan is expected in June.