Without a doubt there has been more construction in downtown Kalamazoo in the last 5 years than there has been in the previous 25.  Even more than that, there has been a concerted effort to create a draw for people who would otherwise not come downtown.

For the first 20 years that my family and I lived here, it was dumbfounding to me how little transformation of the downtown area took place.  The powers that were or the powers that be didn't have the vision to create a destination personality.  Now that it's taking place I want to strangle the people who still don't come downtown because they think there's no place to park.  How about parking and walking???

For me it's not just the big things like the new buildings; it's the little things like Bates Alley off of Portage Street just south of Michigan Ave.  After extending seating in the back of the restaurants, it looks like the whole alley will be a space where food and drink will be allowed.

Now we find out another "alley" is in the works.  This one as part of the Haymarket Plaza project.  According to renderings, it will be tucked between 4 buildings at in the area of Michigan Ave and E. Water street creating a gathering place.

There will be new outdoor furniture, new lighting on the north and south end of the alley, projection mapping, WiFi, a wine bar, space for food trucks & entertainment and heated pavement.  This tells me that whoever is making the calls on these side projects is doing something right.  I'm excited to see the finished product.  If you like to see what it's expected to look like click HERE.

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A Nearly Empty Kalamazoo

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