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Two entrepreneurs start new fitness based partnership in downtown Kalamazoo

Lean Body Studio and bent9 Hot Yoga are now partners. 

Nicole Rzeznik, the head trainer for Lean Body Studio Kalamazoo, had operated an in-home studio for the past two years. Now Lean Body Studio will operate from the bent9 Hot Yoga location on the corner of North Burdick and Eleanor streets. Kelli Rapaski owns of the Lean Body Studio, based in Birmingham, Mich.

"Kelli and I are so excited for this next chapter in our businesses," says Tatiana Otto, the owner of bent9. “bent9 has been occupying this space for over two years and has had great success with yoga. So this partnership could not be more perfect to help grow the clientele for both studios and expand beyond the scope to have yoga and cardio plus strength classes under  one roof.”

Though they share a space at 309 N. Burdick Street, #101, LBS Kalamazoo and bent9 Hot Yoga will continue as individual entities regarding class pricing and packages. 

Client package pricing and details are available on the Mind Body app by selecting the bent9 hot yoga studio (under pricing). LBS of Kalamazoo is also on the Mind Body App  within the bent9 Hot Yoga Class Schedule.

"With a recent partnership with bent9 for a few classes, the success grew tons of buzz which has now created our current partnership between the two studios,” says Rapaski. 

Source: bent9 Hot Yoga and LBS Kalamazoo 

Portman Nature Preserve opens Oct. 21 with grand opening celebration

The Portman Nature Preserve will open to the public beginning Oct. 21.  The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy has planned a grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. 

Land Conservancy officials say that "with a combination of state and federal grants, foundation grants, and donations from local individuals and corporations, SWMLC has successfully completed the $2.2 million fundraising campaign to protect, steward, and create public access for the Portman Nature Preserve in Mattawan."

In addition to acquiring the property, these funds will also:  create public access to the preserve, including a driveway and parking area, trailhead, signage and trails; enable immediate invasive species removal and habitat improvement projects; and ensure long-term stewardship of the property.

“The creation of this special protected natural area is the result of an epic collaboration of many partners all working hand-in-hand to ensure the project’s success,” says SWMLC President and Executive Director Pete Ter Louw. “We are honored by the participation of so many people in creating the Portman Nature Preserve, and humbled by the generosity the conservation and local community have shown.”

 The grand opening celebration will include: 
  • 1-1:45pm – Storybook Hike – SWMLC will offer a storybook hike, where children will have the opportunity to read the book “Meet Us on the Trail,” written by Andrew F. Johnson and illustrated by Jennifer Johnson Haywood, who will also lead the hike, helping children explore the tracks, scat and other signs of North American animals on-site at the Portman Nature Preserve. (Please RSVP to or by phone to 269-324-1600. Due to limited space, RSVP’s are required.)
  • 2-2:30pm – Acknowledgements and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony – SWMLC will formally thank and recognize all those who have been instrumental in bringing the Portman Nature Preserve to fruition. This recognition will culminate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
  • 3:00-4:00pm – Guided Nature Hike – SWMLC will offer a nature hike of the preserve guided by one of SWMLC’s eminent stewardship staff. This hike offers the opportunity to learn about some of the incredibly diverse species and habitats present on this 189-acre preserve.
  • All Day – Hike the more than 2 miles of trails at Portman Nature Preserve and enjoy the other family-friendly activities that will be offered throughout the day. 

The Little Adventurers’ Club will host a “Make a Nature Journal Craft,” and SWMLC will also offer a nature scavenger hunt, as well as “Hike Our Preserves” (HOP!) Portman medallions for all those participating in the HOP! Program.

SWMLC has already begun working with Mattawan and Paw Paw Schools to incorporate the Portman Nature Preserve as an outdoor classroom into the K-12 curriculum. Classes have begun visiting the preserve this fall, and SWMLC will be working with other school districts as well once the preserve is officially open. The Portman Nature Preserve also offers a natural laboratory for local researchers, and a natural space for the community to explore, learn, exercise, gather, and connect with nature and with each other.
Source: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

Wightman & Associates, Inc. begins renovation work on new Kalamazoo office

 Wightman & Associates, Inc. (WAI) will relocate from its current location in Portage to 433 E. Ransom in Kalamazoo. 

The project will involve the complete renovation of the former One-Way Products building. When completed Wightman & Associates, Inc. will be able to continue the recent expansion of its staff. It also will be able to expand the range of services it provides to businesses and municipalities in the region.

The company’s current 3,700 square-foot office location at 9835 Portage Road in Portage is no longer a fit for the staff of over 30 engineering, architecture, GIS and survey professionals based there. It also lacks client meeting space and adequate storage for equipment and work vehicles.
“We outgrew our office some time ago, so the entire team is glad to see this project underway,” says Alan Smaka, director of WAI’s Portage office. “Not only will our new location create a welcoming and comfortable environment for our staff and clients, it gives us the ability to hire additional team members and expand our service offerings in the Kalamazoo region.”

“We are very pleased to be announcing this growth in the Kalamazoo region," says WAI President Matt Davis. "Our team of professional is really looking forward to having a presence in downtown Kalamazoo. This larger location is a critical component of Wightman & Associates’ strategic commitment to the Kalamazoo region. By investing in our facilities and providing our employees with an environment where they can do their best work, they, in turn, can focus their talents and problem-solving skills on helping our clients achieve their goals.” 

Wightman & Associates, Inc. is a civil engineering, architectural, and survey firm that has been serving Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana since 1946 with offices in Benton Harbor, Portage, and Allegan

Source: Wightman & Associates, Inc.

City of Kalamazoo is seeking applicants for Foundation for Excellence Board

The City of Kalamazoo is accepting applications for membership on the first Foundation for Excellence Board of Directors. Applications will be taken until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 1. The city says the form is very brief and should take about 10 minutes to complete.

The online application form can be found here and paper applications are available at Kalamazoo Public Library branch locations and in the City Manager’s Office on the second floor at City Hall.

Those who need a computer to access the online form will find one available at  the Kalamazoo Community Foundation located at 402 E. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.  Please call (269) 381-4416 in advance to schedule an appointment.

“It is our intention to foster a respectful board culture where every member contributes their unique voice and skills to the work ahead,” says City Manager Jim Ritsema.
Applicants will be asked their contact information, employment sector, skills and experience, and demographic information. 

Board responsibilities are addressed through policies, and in the bylaws and articles of incorporation. Their job is to "ensure the integrity of the Foundation for the good of the public and its financial contributors," the city says.

 Members will govern the Board’s operations and make recommendations to the City Commission in order to provide funding each year for aspirational projects and Shared Prosperity initiatives that are in keeping with the community vision established in the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Strategic Vision and Master Plan. 

The Foundation for Excellence is a unique oppotunity created by the City of Kalamazoo and private donors to address systemic challenges to the prosperity of the city. The Foundation will provide $70.3 million to stabilize the city’s budget, lower its property tax rate, and for $10 million of aspirational community projects per year through 2019. During this period, a fundraising effort will be launched to create a fully endowed foundation that can sustain this funding in perpetuity.

Source: City of Kalamazoo

Palliative care fellowship receives $1 million gift

When a person has a serious illness palliative care can provide relief from symptoms and stress, improving the quality of life for both the patient and the family.

To provide palliative care takes three things: high-quality services, education for families and health care providers, and those trained in providing such care -- a workforce, says Michael Raphelson, MD, medical director of Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan and a clinical assistant professor in WMed’s Department of Family and Community Medicine.

A $1 million gift from Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan will be the seed for an endowed palliative care fellowship at the medical school.  The medical school hopes to raise $4 million to fully fund the endowment dedicated to training competent and compassionate palliative care physicians for the foreseeable future.

The fellowship would provide training for up to two physicians seeking certification in geriatric and chronic illness management care after their completion of residency.

Dr. Raphelson says the new fellowship at WMed will help fill what he said is “an extreme shortage” in the number of certified palliative care providers in the U.S. He says there now are a little more than 5,000 certified providers despite an ever-growing need and a U.S. population that is aging rapidly.

“Never before have our demographics demonstrated the need more,” Dr. Raphelson says. “Ten thousand people turn 65 every day in this country and there are more families in Michigan with a member over the age of 65 than there are with children. There are 5.1 million people in the country with Alzheimer’s and there will be 7 million by 2020, and our elderly population is going to increase to 25 percent of the population by 2030.”

Dr. Raphelson says he believes the new fellowship will also lead to increased awareness about palliative care among medical students and residents in Kalamazoo and spark interest among them and physicians in the community about broadening their skill set. “I feel this community has everything it needs to provide high-quality palliative care training." 

Source: WMed

Wightman and Associates, Inc. welcomes five new hires

The civil engineering, architectural, and survey firm Wightman & Associates, Inc. recently welcomed five new professionals to its team.
Natalie Dean of Kalamazoo has joined the WAI Portage Office as a planner. She has more than 12 years of experience working for the City of Marshall in a variety of positions including planning and zoning administrator, director of community services, and, most recently, assistant city manager.  Dean earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Mediated Communication from Spring Arbor University, Zoning Administrator Certification, and Citizen Planner Certification from Michigan State University. She is slated to graduate with a Master of Public Administration degree from Central Michigan University in December of this year.
Sara Kotanko of Niles has joined the WAI Architecture Studio in Benton Harbor as an interior designer. During the past two years, she was an interior design intern with WAI while working on her degree. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Andrews University in Interior Design with a minor in graphic design. She is experienced in multiple software design programs, material selection, and proposal writing.
Kristin Noack of Coloma, has joined the Benton Harbor office as marketing and operations assistant. She brings 16 years of administrative experience to WAI. Her previous experience includes marketing coordinator, administrative assistant to the CEO, and inside sales representative at Ausco Products, Inc. She is also a writer and photographer with Tri-City Record in Watervliet. Noack earned an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
Amanda Pastroff of St. Joseph has been hired as the company’s human resource generalist/assistant and is based in the WAI Benton Harbor office. She recently graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a General Business minor. Her professional experience includes a human resources internship with Lakeland Health in St. Joseph and working as a research assistant within WMU’s Department of Psychology.
Tim Warford of Kalamazoo has joined the WAI Benton Harbor office as a flagger. He is responsible for enhancing field crew safety during onsite data collection for the company’s SAW grant projects throughout Southwest Michigan municipalities.

Wightman & Associates, Inc. is a civil engineering, architectural, and survey firm that has been serving Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana since 1946 with offices in Benton Harbor, Portage, and Allegan, Michigan. 
To learn more o please call Wightman & Associates, Inc. at 269-927-0100 or visit online.

Source: Wightman & Associates, Inc.

Sisters open store together in Benton Harbor

Two sisters who both have a strong background in retail have opened have opened a store together in downtown Benton Harbor.

Melinda's Boutique, 78 W. Wall Street, features women's clothing, shoes, and accessories. The store recently celebrated its grand opening with discounts on purchases, a raffle and door prizes.

Pam Hunt and Renee Hunt officially opened Melinda's Boutique in August. Melinda's Boutique caters to the needs of professional, formal, and casual wear for women.

The new owners say they are pleased to be a part of the growth of downtown Benton Harbor and look forward to a long relationship with the other businesses in the area.

To open their boutique, Pam and Renee worked with the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance. For a look at items they have for sale, please click here

"The Women's Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance was pivotal in the opening of the store," says Pam. "They spent many hours providing information, guidance and recommendations, and overall business acumen to assist us in preparing a solid-start-up foundation for the boutique." 

Melinda's Boutique is open noon-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 10 am-3 p.m. Saturday. For more information on Melinda's Boutique, call (269) 757-7586, or follow them on Facebook.

Source: Cornerstone Alliance

Newell Brands plans expansion at BTR Park

The Newell Brands Inc. acquisition of the consumer products company Jarden is proving to be good news for Kalamazoo. The business move means Newell needs to expand its design capabilities to accommodate the additional product lines. 

Newell plans to expand its current product design and testing facility in Kalamazoo with a $7.3 million investment that is expected to create 87 design jobs. 

As a result of the expansion, the company has been awarded a $1.48 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites. The city of Kalamazoo will consider on Oct. 2 a 12-year tax abatement valued at $1.5 million.

Newell Rubbermaid acquired Jarden for over $15 billion of cash and stock in a deal completed in April 2016. The company subsequently changed its name to Newell Brands.

“The decision of Newell Brands to expand in Southwest Michigan versus other global centers shows the value its leadership team places on our region as a hub for design talent,” says Ron Kitchens, senior partner of Southwest Michigan First. “We look forward to growing our creative community with the innovation these 87 new jobs bring and continuing our growing relationship with the company.”

Newell Brands Inc. is a global manufacturer of consumer and commercial products that are marketed under a portfolio of brands, including Rubbermaid, Graco, Aprica, Levolor, Calphalon, Goody, Sharpie, Paper Mate, Dymo, Parker, Rubbermaid, Sunbeam, and Lenox.

Source: Michigan Economic Development Corporation

650 Trade Centre Way to get first tenant

Kalamazoo's largest law firm will be leaving its downtown offices on East Michigan Ave. for a new space in the third of the Trade Centre office buildings, off the I-94. 

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP will move its Kalamazoo office to 650 Trade Centre Way, where it will be the building's first tenant. 650 Trade Centre Way, is a five-story, 100,000-square-foot office space.

It was designed to be modern and client friendly with first-class common areas and amenities, its developers say. It looks out over natural wetlands and is also located near I-94 near US-131, on the northwest corner of Westnedge Avenue and Interstate 94 within the City of Portage. The location of the property places it between Detroit, Chicago, Grand Rapids, and South Bend.  

“Becoming part of this visionary new development further reinforces our commitment to investment and growth in West Michigan,” says Phillip D. Torrence, Honigman’s Kalamazoo office managing partner.  

The new space gives the law firm "the layout we need to grow and serve not only our local clients but our growing number of clients from major U.S. and global markets," Torrence says. "This move is in line with our commitment to our continued growth in Kalamazoo and speaks to the vibrancy of our Kalamazoo-based practices across the life sciences, medical device, finance and tech sectors.”

In September,  Honigman is celebrating the ninth anniversary of the opening of its Kalamazoo office. Since 2008, the firm has grown and now has a roster of 26 attorneys and 55 professionals.

Honigman recently represented tronc, Inc., the parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, in the highly-publicized acquisition of NY Daily News. This transaction, largely executed from the firm's Kalamazoo office, "represents the sophisticated work that Phil Torrence, Jonathan O’Brien and our team of experienced lawyers handle for major Kalamazoo- based clients as well as clients across the U. S.,” says David Foltyn, chairman. and CEO of Honigman.

The Trade Centre complex is owned by real estate developers Roger Hinman of the Hinman Company, and Joe Gesmundo of AVB Inc.

Source: Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn

Kalamazoo Valley Community College brewing program once again in spotlight

Kalamazoo Valley Community College has been offering classes in sustainable brewing for less than two years, but recent recognition is putting the program in the same league as those that have been offered for much longer.

KVCC’s Sustainable Brewing program is one of the first to receive recognition from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA). KVCC is among eight other schools in the United States and Canada to meet or exceed the guidelines and learning outcomes set by the MBAA.

“Our program, which was launched less than two years ago, continues to grow in popularity with students and with area employers,” says Associate Vice President for Instruction and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus Dean McCurdy. “This recognition puts Kalamazoo Valley up there with other institutions that have been doing this a lot longer.”

Earlier this year, Kalamazoo Valley was the top winner the U.S. Open College Beer Championship, a craft beer competition for beers brewed exclusively by college and university brewing and fermentation programs.  

“We are thrilled to be recognized as one of the top brewing programs in North America,” McCurdy says. “These awards reflect the creativity, artisanship, and attention to detail that we've built into our award-winning curriculum. Competing successfully against the top colleges and universities throughout North America is a validation of the investments we have made in recruiting excellent brewers and scientists to teach in our program."

McCurdy says the success also is an acknowledgment of the strong partnerships we've built with the local brewing community, and of the state-of-the-art brewery opened at the Kalsec Center for Sustainable Brewing Education on the college’s Bronson Healthy Living Campus. 

KVCC offers a Certificate, Associate of Applied Science degree, and an Associate in Science degree in Sustainable Brewing. Program options are designed to prepare students for employment in brewing and related industries. Students can also transfer coursework to complete a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Applied Science or Bachelor of Business Administrator (Management) degree.

Source: Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Urban Democracy Feast seeks applicants for next round of crowdfunding

Child care services for single parents who work the second and third shift; urban farms that sell to local restaurants; worker owned co-operatives; independent community media, or scholarship requests to study abroad and return to implement the research results in Kalamazoo -- these are just some of the project that could be eligible for crowdfunding through the Urban Democracy Feast. 

The way it works is projects submit an application and four applicants are selected to make a five-minute presentation at the supper. Their presentations must exhibit evidence that they are addressing a shared need, have the support of other groups in the neighborhood, and that the project demonstrates direct democracy.

Those who want to be considered for funding have until Oct. 6 to apply. Applications in English and Spanish are available at the FEAST website. Hard copy versions are available at the Arcus Social Justice Center, Bilal Mosque, Eastside Neighborhood Association, Eastwood Library Branch, the Hispanic American Council, Kalamazoo Peace Center, People’s Food Co-op, Powell Street Library Branch, Vine Neighborhood Association, and the Washington Square Library Branch. Completed applications need to be returned to the same place where they were picked up. 

The next Urban Democracy Feast will take place Nov. 18 at First Congregational Church,  345 W. Michigan Ave., in Kalamazoo. 

Those who have previously sought crowd-funding through the Urban Democracy Feast include: Urban Exposure, Majyck Radio, Project X (Formerly Institute for New Leadership), Mama Sutra, Humans Beyond Boxes,  Kalamazoo Peace Center, the Hispanic American Council: Circles of Trust, Isaac: Future Leaders for Peace; JABS (Justice Against Bullying in Schools); La Amistad Farm;  and a group working to improve Black Infant Mortality Rate.

The Nov. 18 event is the fifth one to take place locally. It takes place over a meal so participants can exchange information about shared problems, discuss common obstacles and share ways to overcome them, organizers say. 
The goal of the organizers is to generate funds that provide the seed money for projects that might otherwise not get funded. Those who attend the feast vote on the presentations and projects receive funding based on the percentage of votes received. Applicants who do not receive funding are eligible to apply again at a future feast.

 Altogether, more than $3,000 has been raised and distributed at the feasts since they started in 2015. The Urban Democracy Feast defines social justice as equal access for all to resources and services. 

Doors open at 4 p.m. for the Nov. 18 feast and the event begins at 4:30 p.m. The process will be explained followed by announcements from organizations who have donated the food. Next there will be five-minute explanations from those seeking feast funding. They are asked to demonstrate that they are addressing a shared need, that they have support of other groups in the neighborhood, and the project demonstrates direct democracy. 

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or online (with a service fee) at the feast website. Childcare will be provided.

Source: Urban Democracy Feast

WMU receives $2 million grant to work with new students from community of farmworkers

Southwest Michigan is at the center of the state's stream of migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

Now a five-year program to support first-year, first-generation undergraduate students who are migrant or seasonal farmworkers or the children of such workers at Western Michigan University has received more than $2 million.

WMU is only one of 10 schools in the country and the only one in Michigan to be awarded the funding through this College Assistance Migrant Program or the U.S. Department of Education and its Office of Migrant Education. 

The CAMP project at WMU, housed in the Division of Multicultural Affairs, will receive $416,293 for the 2017-18 academic year and nearly $2.108 million overall. The CAMP  focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics--STEM--education.  

The University's Division of Multicultural Affairs and College of Engineering and Applied Sciences have teamed up to give new WMU-CAMP participants increased access to STEM coursework and activities. The program addresses a federally identified priority to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter STEM fields.

An average of 40 eligible students will be enrolled during each year of the 2017 through 2022 grant period. Nationwide, CAMP helps out about 2,000 students each year. Diana Hernandez, director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs and leader of the WMU-CAMP says WMU-CAMP participants had an overall GPA of 3.19 and a retention rate of 97.5 percent for the 2015-16 academic year.

"Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are essential to the agricultural industry in the United States and in Michigan, yet they continue to be one of the most impoverished and underserved populations in this country," say Hernandez. "Our unique, holistic service plan for the CAMP program provides participants with the comprehensive academic, financial, school-transition and other support services they need to successfully complete their first year of college and continue their college education."

The CAMP program has been offered at WMU since 2012.

"The collaboration between Diana and her team and the engineering college is a win-win situation for participating students, the seasonal farmworker community and WMU," says Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, WMU-CAMP's co-principal investigator and an associate professor of engineering design, manufacturing and management systems. "STEM education is a priority in the global environment we live in, and it's something that will have a significant positive impact in our region."

Source: Jeanne Baron, Western Michigan University

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy receives $212,000 grant to help protect Battle Creek watershed

Next to the Michigan Audubon Society's Baker Sanctuary is the 476-acre Big Acre Marsh Farm. It's part of the Ackley Creek subwatershed and the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy in 2016 received a $530,000 matching grant to conserve the property.

Now it has received a two-year $212,000 matching grant intended to protect water quality by conserving land in the Battle Creek watershed and build on the previous protections. The grants from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will let the Land Conservancy purchase 200 acres of property, especially an expansive wetland along the Wanadoga Creek in southeast Barry County. 

These are considered the highest priority for conservation in the Battle Creek River watershed. (A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that falls in it, and drains off of it, goes to a common outlet.) 

The Battle Creek watershed is 307 square miles and consists of mainly agricultural land although the headwaters area has large tracts of undeveloped forests and wetlands. This wilderness headwaters area includes Ackley Creek, Big Marsh Lake, Wanadoga Creek, Waubascon Creek, and Clear Lake, which all flow downstream into the Battle Creek River.
“This second MDEQ grant will allow us to work in the Wanadoga Creek subwatershed, an area where SWMLC has already had great success in conserving land,” says Emily Wilke, SWMLC’s Conservation Project Manager. “Protecting land in its natural state is the best way to protect the health of nearby lakes and streams, and we hope these two projects will promote additional conservation of land in the Battle Creek watershed.”
Both the Ackley Creek and Wanadoga Creek subwatersheds were identified as priority areas for conservation through a collaborative project in 2015 with SWMLC, the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, and the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources. The project identified the parcels that are most important to protect to maintain the best possible water quality within the larger 2,020 square-mile watershed, showing large clusters of high priority parcels in the headwaters area of the Battle Creek River Watershed.
This 2017 grant is awarded by MDEQ to protect Michigan lakes and streams from pollution. These grants help to restore impaired waters and protect high-quality waters by reducing nonpoint sources of sediment, nutrients, and other contaminants. Nonpoint source pollution is runoff that picks up both natural and human contaminants as it moves across the ground and eventually runs into waterways as pollution.

Source: Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy 

Retail center at Westnedge and Kilgore construction continues

All is on track for a spring 2018 completion of HomeGoods, Inc., a home furnishings retailer going up in the Westnedge@Kilgore shopping center in Portage. The structural shell is going into place and soon a roof will be added. 

HomeGoods, Inc., joins EarthFare and Southern Michigan Bank & Trust as tenants at the shopping center developed by the Hinman Company. It will be a 19,000 square-foot retail store.

HomeGoods was established in 1992 and operates more than 500 stores throughout the United States.  It is owned by TJX Companies, which also owns TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

“HomeGoods is a fantastic retailer and will be a complementary addition to the shopping center,” says Roger Hinman, CEO of the Hinman Company. “We are pleased that they chose Westnedge@Kilgore for their newest location.”

Future plans for Westnedge@Kilgore include the development of the vacant land to the East and North of Lowe’s Home Improvement.  In addition to these future development plans, there is 3,200 square feet of retail space in the shopping center immediately adjacent to Earth Fare that is currently available for lease.

Source: The Hinman Company

Further construction planned for Gun Lake Casino

The second phase of a $76 million expansion at Gun Lake Casino, which includes a slots and table games high-limit room and bar, has been completed.

Casino officials recently cut the ribbon on the new high-limit room that will cater to guests who wish to make higher denomination bets on both slots and table games, in a more private atmosphere.

The expansion also features the new bar, Chill, where customers can drink flavored slushy drinks, along with full beer, wine, and cocktail selections, located in the heart of the casino.

The first phase of the 73,000-square-foot expansion, including a 300-seat buffet, additional slots. and table games opened in May. It also included a new Stage 131, nearly double in size from the former Stage 131. 

The casino also has announced the construction of a five-story parking deck, that will have 1,200 parking spaces and four covered-floors. Construction is now underway and will continue during winter months, as weather permits. The 475,000 square-foot parking structure is slated to be completed in the summer of 2018. Clark Construction, of Lansing, Mich., is undertaking the project, which will create 75 jobs, employed by various sub-contractors. 

“These are additional amenities that our guests have asked for and we are happy to provide," says Brent Arena, vice president and general manager for Gun Lake Casino, "as we continue to grow, due to the support of our guests, community, and team members.”

Gun Lake Casino, located off Exit 61 on U.S. 131, halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, features more than 2,000 slot machines, 42 table games, a high-limit room, a food court, a 225-seat café, and a 300-seat buffet, along with bars, lounges, and live entertainment.

Gun Lake Casino is owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians and is operated by the Tribe’s management partner, MPM Enterprises, LLC, owned by an affiliate of Station Casinos, Inc. and private investors from Michigan. For more information, visit

Source: Gun Lake Casino
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