Healthy Living Corridor plan gets financial boost

Eight cities across Michigan have been selected to receive assistance for economic development projects that are intended to attract and keep employers. Kalamazoo is one of them.

The funds will help in planning Kalamazoo's healthy living corridor, announced earlier this year. It will connect various parts of the city and include a new campus for Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Redevelopment of Upjohn Park and the Banks Street farmers market, the cleaning of Portage Creek and new investment in the Edison neighborhood all would be connected by the Healthy Living Cooridor. Plans are to connect these areas with the existing neighborhood fabric and create a distinct place for work, play, and exercise.

Bronson Healthcare has made available three parcels of property for the campus: 8.4 acres along Crosstown Parkway east of the City of Kalamazoo’s Crosstown Center, 3.6 acres between Walnut and Dutton Streets, and 1.3 acres north of Crosstown Parkway and south of Dutton Street.

Initial plans for the campus portion of the project call for three buildings--one for food production and distribution; a second for nursing, allied health and culinary programs; and the third for a new psychiatric clinic for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, a partner with KVCC and Bronson in the project.

As part of the project, a complete redevelopment of the property is planned. Landscaped walkways and an environmentally sensitive design will support other activities in the area.

Kalamazoo, Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Holland, Jackson, Marquette, and Midland, are the eight communities chosen to participate in PlacePlans, a joint effort between the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan for transformative placemaking projects.

The eight cities were selected through a statewide application process. The PlacePlans are done with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (
MSHDA) and the state’s MIplace Partnership.

Gary Heidel, Chief Placemaking Officer for MSHDA, says: "What I like best about these projects is that the passion and dedication already exists in these communities. What’s missing is a little bit of a kick-start to turn that potential into reality or to take work that is already under way to the next level. The design and technical assistance being provided through PlacePlans will give them that extra incentive and direction they need."

Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Matt Bach, Michigan Municipal League