The City of Kalamazoo named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists

Today, the League of American Bicyclists recognized the City of Kalamazoo with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award.

With the announcement of 6 communities moving from an Honorable Mention to Bronze, 9 communities receiving a Bronze award on their first application, and 22 renewing BFCs today, Kalamazoo joins a group of communities, in all 50 states, that are transforming their neighborhoods. There are now 416 communities currently recognized with a BFC award for their efforts to make biking better.

“We applaud these communities for making improvements for people who bike in a ways that build upon their existing strengths and are based upon their particular needs, whether that is infrastructure, education, or encouragement,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director at the League of American Bicyclists.

“We are encouraged by the way that communities are using bicycling as a part of their solution to issues of health, job access, traffic safety, and the environment and using our program to make progress in those issues. We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as part of our mission to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.”

The Bronze BFC award recognizes the City of Kalamazoo’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in infrastructure, pro-bicycling policies, and promoting bicycling. The BFC program provides a benchmark for communities to evaluate these conditions and policies, while highlighting areas for improvement. The national scope of the program also promotes competition and comparison between communities - with 416 currently recognized BFC there is always a model for your community to be found.

This year Kalamazoo will see the completion of the downtown segment of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, the completion of a trail segment through Upjohn Park, additional bike racks installed downtown and a road diet with bike lanes added to South Burdick Street, among other new lanes, routes, and improvements. A Complete Streets Policy is being drafted to ensure that all streets are planned, designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to enable a Vision Zero goal and provide accommodations for users of all ages and abilities. In 2016 the Kalamazoo City Commission passed a five-foot bicycle passing ordinance to improve safety for cyclists.

"We're excited to officially be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community for the first time ever," said Rebekah Kik, Director of Community Planning and Development. "We know we're still at the beginning of this process and will continue to create safe and accessible routes for cyclists and all street users throughout the City."

Each community that applies for a BFC award receives a report card which will be available in an award database at http://bikeleague.org/bfa/awards. Explanations of each award level and key data from each report card are available at http://bikeleague.org/content/building-blocks-bicycle-friendly-communities.

This announcement comes during National Bike Month, and right before Kalamazoo Bike Week begins on May 13. Visit www.kalamazoobikeweek.com for a complete list of events in Kalamazoo.

About the Bicycle Friendly America Program

The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Planet Bike. The Bicycle Friendly Community program was created in 1995 and has processed more than 1,200 applications since 2002. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit www.bikeleague.org/BFA.

The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.

$ 100,000 Grant from Consumers Energy Foundation Pushes Bronson Park 21st Century Campaign Past Halfway Mark

The Consumers Energy Foundation has awarded a $ 100,000 grant to support the City of Kalamazoo’s rehabilitation of Bronson Park, bringing the Bronson Park 21st Century campaign past the halfway mark of its $ 2.8 million goal. This funding will support the placement of an information kiosk which will greet visitors at one of the corners of the park. 

“We are pleased to give the Kalamazoo community support to help revitalize an important downtown resource in Bronson Park,” said David Mengebier, President of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We are impressed by the work that city officials have done to improve the park and look forward to seeing it make Kalamazoo an even more attractive place to live and work.”

With this grant the Consumers Energy Foundation joins a broad group of supporters that includes the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Rotary Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (the Gun Lake Band), City of Kalamazoo, and many other organizations and community members.

“We really appreciate this support from the Consumers Energy Foundation and all of the supporters throughout this campaign,” said Sean Fletcher, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Kalamazoo. “Bronson Park is such an important space in our downtown and so many of us have a personal connection to it. We’re excited to make this amazing space even better.”

About the Consumers Energy Foundation

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy, giving Michigan cities, towns and neighborhoods the extra support needed to build communities that we’re proud to call home. The foundation provides grants and mobilizes volunteers to strengthen local education, social services, the environment, and community, economic and cultural development.

About the Bronson Park 21st Century Campaign

The Bronson Park 21st Century Campaign is a community effort to raise $ 2.8 million to improve Bronson Park. The Campaign is driven by the Bronson Park Master Plan, which was completed in 2016 after an extensive public planning effort. In addition to physical improvements to Bronson Park, the Plan also includes educational components to provide an accurate portrayal of Native American history and cultural experience, which are being created in partnership with the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi.

The City is grateful to the many dozens of community members who volunteer their time and talents to making the Campaign an ongoing success. You can learn more about the Bronson Park 21st Century Campaign or make a donation at www.kalamazoocity.org/bronsonpark

Local Preservation Projects to be Honored with Historic Preservation Awards of Merit

The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KHPC) will present its 2017 Awards of Merit on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at 5:30 pm. The awards ceremony will be held at Riverview Launch located at 1523 Riverview Drive (the reception and awards ceremony will take place in the barn). The public is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

For more than two decades the KHPC has presented awards for preservation related projects in the city of Kalamazoo. Awards have been presented to places such as the Lincoln school, Zion Lutheran Church, as well as nearly three dozen single and multiple family homes, rental and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects, and new infill houses.

These awards are presented annually in May in local recognition of National Historic Preservation Month. This year’s award recipients have done an outstanding job rehabilitating a historic structure or have actively promoted or contributed to historic preservation in the city of Kalamazoo.

Residential Property Awards

W.G. Bartholomew House at 832 Elmwood: One of the oldest houses in the city, Jean Harden purchased the house at a tax sale auction in August of 2014. The house was originally located on West Main and was moved to the current location in the 1870s. Over three years, the owner has repaired structural issues, updated a bathroom and restored the original windows.

Commercial/Institutional Awards

Grand Trunk Western Depot at 421 & 427 East Michigan, Plazacorp Realty Advisors: This structure was built in 1890 as a one of over a dozen freight sheds located in downtown Kalamazoo (of which only two remain). When Plazacorp Realty Advisors purchased the property in 2014, the building had been vacant for several years. They wanted to pay tribute to the city’s industrial, manufacturing and agricultural past by returning the building to productive use.  The redevelopment was completed in late 2016 and the building houses two restaurants (Hop Cat and Maru) and office space.

City Savings Bank building at 1301 Portage, Kalamazoo County Land Bank: In 1920, the City Savings Bank built its first branch on the corner of Portage Street and Washington Avenue with room for small offices on the second floor used by doctors and dentists. Over the near century in between the building has been used as a drug store, laundromat and insurance agency. In 2013 the building was acquired by the Kalamazoo County Land Bank and with the assistance of a façade grant the exterior of the building was restored. A new restaurant will open in the building in May 2017.

Individual/Institutional Awards

Kalamazoo Public Library, Local History Room website “All About Kalamazoo History”: The Kalamazoo Public Library “All About Kalamazoo History” website is leader in web-based historical information and includes an online index of the Kalamazoo Gazette, hundreds of local photographs from three local institutions and nearly 600 interconnected web pages covering more than 20 categories. Pages about people and places from Kalamazoo’s past are a special delight, including biographies, cemeteries, rural schools, houses/buildings, businesses and institutions, researched and written by members of the Kalamazoo Public Library staff. This website is an invaluable resource for researchers ranging from middle school students competing in History Day to genealogists.

For more information about the Historic Preservation Awards of Merit or award winners, please call Sharon Ferraro, City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator at 269-337-8804 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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
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     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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