3/1/2023: A place for a ‘pod’ community

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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A local organization has announced a location for a unique small-house community to serve the homeless in Kalamazoo. Also: Kalamazoo County leaders met to set their priorities for the coming year. And two Kalamazoo Township leaders have swapped positions.

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Organization reveals possible site for Kzoo ‘pod’ community

Housing Resources Inc. (HRI) on Tuesday announced a potential location for a new tiny-house community in Kalamazoo. In a press release, HRI said it is looking at building 50 “pods” on the old Allied Paper Mill site on Alcott Street. The pods feature two beds apiece as well as heat and storage. They’re meant to provide safe transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness. The location would put the community near several supportive services including Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and the Kalamazoo Department of Health and Community Services.

HRI now has six months to buy or lease the site under an agreement with the City of Kalamazoo. The site is currently owned by the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. HRI said it is working with an architecture and engineering firm to develop a site plan. HRI staff also intend to hold informational sessions with people who live in the area. “The neighborhood and community information sessions will allow residents to learn more about the POD project and to understand that it will not be an encampment, but a managed community created with intention and dignity and 24/7 staff support,” said the press release.

County board sets priorities for coming year

The Kalamazoo County Commission held its annual retreat last night. That’s when county leaders discuss their priorities for the next 12 months. This year county leaders have decided to narrow their focus to just a few important priorities. Number one will be focusing on revenue. “I strongly believe that this board can do a better job than previous ones of identifying revenue and expenditures,” said county board Chair John Taylor. He said there are opportunities to secure state and federal grants, which will allow them to fund some of their other ambitions.

Those other ambitions include developing more affordable housing, improving mental health and substance abuse services, and reducing gun violence. Another big priority will be addressing racism and inequity in the county. Taylor said they made a good start by hiring a director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) last year. “We’ve got a lot more work to do. How far we’ve come in the last year I think is a testament to how much this board, and especially previous boards, committed to DEI,” he said.

More News You Need To Know

K Township swaps trustee, clerk positions

A Kalamazoo Township trustee is the new township clerk following a vote of the board on Monday night and a swearing in ceremony on Tuesday. Lisa Moaiery was unanimously elected to fill out the remainder of the term of outgoing Clerk Mark Miller. Miller announced his resignation in January citing the stress of running elections recently. Moaiery will serve through November 2024 at which point she can decide whether to run for election to a full term.

Moaiery’s appointment to the clerk’s position left a seat open on the township board. That was quickly filled by none other than outgoing Clerk Miller. Miller was previously a township trustee from 2008 to 2016 before becoming clerk. He was also elected unanimously and will fill out the remainder of Moaiery’s term. [MLive]

K Township gives raises to officials

Three officials in Kalamazoo Township will see significant boosts to their pay following a vote on Monday night. Beginning March 1, the township supervisor, treasurer, and clerk will see their annual salary increase from $15,000 to $50,000 per year. In explaining the pay bump, Treasurer Sherine Miller said the three jobs are effectively full-time positions and should be paid as such. “They are 24 hours a day. They are seven days a week and they are 365 days a year,” she said.

All three positions used to pay more. Until 2016, each was paid $60,000 per year. Then the township decided to hire a professional manager and a part-time finance manager, and reduced the pay of the three elected positions. Trustee Steven Leuty said that change just didn’t work out. “For decades, maybe over 100 years, it was one way, and we changed it and now we are changing it again. We just have to recognize that the cost neutrality did not work,” he said. [MLive]

K Township plans tree debris pickup

Kalamazoo Township has contracted with a local landscaper to pick up tree debris from the ice storms that swept through the area last week. Work will begin on March 9, which ought to give township residents time to collect downed limbs and get them to the side of the road, said Township Manager Dexter Mitchell. There won’t be any weight or diameter limits, but the township is asking residents to cut limbs and sticks down to less than 5 feet in length. Both Kalamazoo and Portage cities have similar plans to collect debris from the roadsides in their jurisdictions. [WWMT]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Writing Poetry with Mrs. Pero – Richland Community Library
3:00PM 3/1

Vegan Cooking Workshop – Climate Emergency Month
4:00PM 3/1

Keynote speaker: Bill McKibben – Climate Emergency Month
4:00PM 3/1

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
6:00PM 3/1

High Blue Sky – O’Duffy’s Pub
6pm 3/1

Active Shooter Town Hall – WMU, Bernhard Center, room 157
6:30pm 3/1

Keith Hall Trio w/ Matthew Fries & Carlo De Rosa – The Clover Room
8:00PM 3/1

The Black Opry – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/1

Musical Mayhem with Ms. Liz – Comstock Township Library
10:30AM 3/2

Excavate With Mary – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
4:00PM 3/2

RAD Fest Screendance Preview – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
6:00PM 3/2

Adult African Diasporic Dance – Rootead
6:30PM 3/2

A Gift of History: Commemorating Lincoln’s Visit to Kalamazoo – Parchment Community Library
6:30PM 3/2

14th Annual Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RAD Fest) – Epic Center
3:30pm 3/3, 9am 3/4, 10am 3/5

Art Hop – Downtown Kalamazoo
5:00PM 3/3

Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival – Kalamazoo Valley Museum
5:30pm 3/3, 9:30am 3/4

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 3/3

Food Not Bombs Benefit Show – Dormouse Theatre
6:00PM 3/3

Pitch Night – Startup Zoo
6:00PM 3/3

Breakin’ Ballet Live – Epic Center
6:00PM 3/3

Brothers Proper – Gull Lake Distilling Co.
6:00PM 3/3

Laser Cutters – Basic Principles and “Will It Cut?!” – Kzoo Makers
6:30PM 3/3

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington – With Stars in His Eyes – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
7:00PM 3/3

The Rainbow Fish Musical – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 3/3, 3/10; 2pm 3/4-5, 3/11-12; 10am 3/8-9

Pajamas with Chirp – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/3

K-Rock Presents: Winter Concert 2023 – K College, Welles Dining Hall
9:00PM 3/3

See more upcoming events here.

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