A once blighted property that has been through tax foreclosure is being redeveloped as a green space and place for local activities through the efforts of the Kalamazoo County Land Bank
The project, known as Riverview Launch, recently received a financial boost with the award of $30,000 from the Consumers Energy Foundation.
The way that the project revitalizes the neighborhood and incorporates natural resources in a sustainable way led to the grant, says David Mengebier, of Consumers Energy.
Riverview Launch is being developed to connect urban residents with the Kalamazoo Valley Trail and other natural resources in the neighborhood near the Kalamazoo River. Plans came together after community planning sessions showed residents wanted it to be a place where people could come together learn, play, and work.
In mid-2014 ground will be broken on the project, which entails approximately 9,000 square feet of LEED certified office space, a renovated greenhouse, and the restoration of a historic barn.
Perry Wolfe, chair of the Riverview Capital Campaign, likened the project to initiatives lsuch as the KVCC Health and Wellness Campus, and the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. "Riverview Launch is part of a greater effort, to promote wellness in a sustainable and community-focused way," Wolfe says.
Plans are that the site ultimately will have community gardens, an interpretive center, and space for youth education and leadership development provided by the MSU Extension 4-H, Junior Master Gardeners, and Open Roads.
"We’re working to build community engagement and support for the Riverview Launch site," says Kelly Clarke, executive director of the Kalamazoo County Land Bank. "Partners like Consumers Energy Foundation help us build momentum to keep pushing this project forward."
Source: Sarah Frame, Kalamazoo County Land Bank