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


The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KPHC) will present its 2018 Awards of Merit on Wednesday, May 30, at 5:30 pm. The awards ceremony will be held in the Globe Casket Building (Beer Exchange) on the third floor. The public is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

For over two decades the KHPC has presented awards for preservation projects in the city of Kalamazoo. Awards have recognized institutions such as the Woodward School, books such as Kalamazoo: Lost and Found, and nearly three dozen single and multiple family homes, rental and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects, and new infill houses.

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

This year’s seven award winners include:

Residential Property

Charles and Susan Crandall House at 716 Minor Avenue: When owner Lynn Stevens bought this former student rental, the house was clad in Transite and had a failing garage. For more than a decade, she repaired the back porch, got approval from the Historic District Commission to remove the garage, and took on numerous projects inside including the kitchen, bathrooms, and much more. On the outside, her house became the subject of one of the Old House Network’s Great Unveiling projects. In about 4 hours, 20 volunteers stripped off the Transite to reveal fish scale shingles in the gables and original siding in very good condition.

1304 Merrill Street: This handsome house with a wrap-around curved porch sits tucked into the hillside at the west end of Forest Street on Merrill. For many, many years it was broken up into apartments. Extra doors were added and windows lost due to renovations designed to house as many tenants as possible. Owners Jennifer McVey and Susan Lindemann, started with a new roof 17 years ago and the process has been ongoing ever since. They removed the north side entry that led to the upper apartment and reinstalled the window in that location. They also reconfigured the rear, added a Craftsman-style pergola and fence, and repaired the marvelous curved porch.

George and Ella Reed House, 928 South Rose Street: In 2016 the Kalamazoo County Treasurer took ownership of this house through tax foreclosure.  Located on a prominent corner, the bones of this neglected house were good but needed rehabilitation. The failing brick garage was removed freeing up parking space and allowing a new rear entrance. After ownership was turned over to the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, a complete renovation transformed the house and it was sold to a new owner last year.


Bosman Building, 627 South Burdick Street: Albert and Susan Trombley have operated their salon and gallery from this building for decades. One of the last historic commercial structures remaining on this part of South Burdick, they have maintained the historic character of the building while putting it to an active, busy use. Their award is rarely given, for preservation of an important historic building.

Civic Theatre, 329 South Park: After 87 years, the Civic needed to update some spaces including the lower level restrooms and lobby. Careful design work from Byce and Associates integrated important design elements, including the iconic eight pointed stars and the theatrical comedy and tragedy masks into the renovated spaces. Colors were drawn from murals in the Green Room and throughout the building and the result is an enchanting transformation of practical spaces, seamlessly integrated into one of the City’s most important cultural buildings.

Park Club, 219 West South: For decades the front of the Park Club, originally the William and Martha Lawrence House, has been marred by the presence of the necessary but unattractive fire escape. Over the last couple of years, Byce and Associates has executed a plan that repaired the tower, removed the fire escape, and reconstructed the front porch and the front steps. They replaced the deteriorating Portage River sandstone with salvaged material from buildings in Calumet Michigan.

Individuals or Institutions

Plazacorp: Over the past two decades, Plazacorp and its investors have revitalized six historic buildings in downtown Kalamazoo, peeling away years of neglect or inappropriate alterations to reveal the beauty of the original buildings. Their completed projects include the Shakespeare, United, and Speareflex buildings in the downtown, and the Gibson factory and Illinois Envelope Buildings elsewhere in the City. They have acquired other historic buildings and have plans in process for several others. They have been a vital part of the revitalization of downtown Kalamazoo.

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.


KDPS Public Safety Officer Application Period Opens May 16

KDPS will open up the application process for the position of “Public Safety Officer” on May 16, 2018 and it will remain open until 11:59 p.m, May 29, 2018. The application process consists of an application, a written test, a background packet, physical agility test, and several interviews throughout the process. Once these steps are complete, it is anticipated that an offer of employment would be given in December, 2018.

Applications may be submitted between 5/16/18 through 5/29/18 at the following websites:


To be considered, applicants must be a U.S. citizen and have a High School Diploma or GED equivalent, a valid driver’s license, and be 21 years old at time of appointment (December, 2018). Applicants will also be required to pass a written and physical test, and an extensive background investigation. Applicants are not required to be MCOLES (Police) certified to apply.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Officers are cross-trained as police officers, firefighters, and medical first responders. They respond to calls for police, fire, and medical emergencies, along with performing other duties.

Advancement/additional opportunities include Detective, Canine Handler, Community Policing Officer, Narcotics Investigator, Crime Lab Technician, SWAT Team, Bomb Squad, Honor Guard, and Command Officer.

Applicants do not need to have prior police or fire certifications to be considered as KDPS will sponsor them through the police academy and provide fire training, if needed. A training wage may apply to those who need to attend the Police Academy. Additional benefits include a Spanish language bonus, veteran on-the-job training education benefits and the federal direct student loan forgiveness program.

Information about KDPS is available at www.kalamazoopublicsafety.org and questions can be submitted through the “Contact” link at the top of the Home Page.

6th Annual Hidden Kalamazoo Tour will Showcase the “Best of Hidden Kalamazoo”


The Hidden Kalamazoo Tour returns to downtown Kalamazoo June 16 & 17, offering an opportunity to visit the City’s less traveled historic spaces before these windows into the past disappear. Now in its 6th year, the tour’s theme will be “The Best of Hidden Kalamazoo,” guiding visitors through some of the favorite sites from the tours first five years.

This year the tour goes into behind the scenes spaces that have been in constant use for over 90 years, like the exquisite State Theater. Tourist will also see the vacant upper floors above the Coney Island and the former Opera Hall in the Jim Gilmore building at Portage and East Michigan.

This year organizers hope to include a bonus site at a rehabilitation project currently underway downtown. The site cannot be announced until the exact phase of rehabilitation is known, which is expected to be approximately week in advance of the tour.

Returning from previous tours, historic buildings constructed out of Legos will be on display in the atrium of City Hall for free to anyone who wants to visit. City Hall will also serve as a hub with book sales, ticket sales (if tickets are available), and accessible restrooms.

Ticket sales are limited to 900 sold in advance of the tour to the general public. Tickets are just $15 for both days of the tour and are available beginning May 1st at City of Kalamazoo offices and select area businesses:

  • Spirit of Kalamazoo at 154 South Kalamazoo Mall (cash and checks only)
  • Douglas and Son Paint - 231 W. Cedar (cash and checks only)
  • D&W - 2103 Parkview at Oakland
  • D&W - 525 Romence in Portage
  • Kalamazoo City Hall Treasurer’s Office - 241 W. South
  • Kalamazoo Public Services Building - 415 Stockbridge

Previous Hidden Kalamazoo Tours have sold out in advance, so tickets may not be available during the tour.

Tourists can go from one site to the next on their own schedule and start and finish at any stop. Each site is staffed by a manager and a crew of tour guides. The tour sites for the 2018 Hidden Kalamazoo Tour are:

  • Van Kersen Building (Food Dance) Basement and more - 401 E. Michigan
  • Hall Building (Coney Island) - 266 E. Michigan
  • Opera House-Union Hall-Pratt building (Gilmore Building) - 162 E. Michigan
  • First National Bank (Peregrine) - 108 E. Michigan
  • Upjohn Works Headquarters (Bronson Healthcare Group) - 301 John Street
  • State Theater - 402 S. Burdick
  • City Hall (tour hub) - 241 West South
  • Bonus Site, to be announced

Hidden Kalamazoo is currently looking for volunteer tour guides. Volunteer guides will be asked to work one 3½ hour shift over the weekend and in return get a free ticket and an official Hidden Kalamazoo T-shirt. For more information about volunteering, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The 6th Annual Hidden Kalamazoo Tour is sponsored by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Next Exit History, Kalamazoo Sportswear and WOOD-TV.

About Hidden Kalamazoo

The Hidden Kalamazoo Tour began to showcase vacant downtown buildings and upper floors in the increasingly active and busy city center. For the fifth year the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission has offered the opportunity for people to go where only maintenance staff and business owners were allowed. Tickets have sold out for previous tours so community members are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.

When the tornado swept through downtown Kalamazoo in 1980, most of the upper floors of downtown buildings were vacant or used only for storage. Today, only seven old buildings are completely unused upstairs. The upper floors have been redeveloped into beautiful apartments or comfortable new offices with high ceilings, beautiful woodwork and an atmosphere that only historic buildings offer. And new construction is underway that will change the Kalamazoo skyline. Before these windows into the past disappear, the Hidden Kalamazoo Tour gives the community a chance to visit the second and third floors and look out dusty windows through the lens of time.

The Hidden Kalamazoo tour is a fundraiser for the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission, a self-funded city advisory board. You can follow the Tour on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or at www.hiddenkalamazoo.com. Traffic and tour directions will be posts via social media as the tour nears.

For more information, contact Sharon Ferraro at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (269) 337-8804.


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.


 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 (269) 337-8047
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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