3/15/2023: New housing, not homeless shelters

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

High 43°/Low 35° Sunny

An old education center on Kalamazoo’s north side could be reborn as affordable housing, but not homeless shelters, as rumors have claimed. Also: State lawmakers have passed a controversial repeal of Right-to-Work rules. And the Douglass Community Center is getting renovations thanks to a nonprofit partner.

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Kzoo may turn learning center into housing

The lot where the old New Genesis Education Center sits on Kalamazoo’s north side has sat unused for some time. It could eventually be reborn as affordable housing. The City of Kalamazoo is partnering with Stones Church to build housing on the site on Cobb Avenue. Plans are in the very early stages, according to city officials.

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding possible plans among people in the neighborhood. That’s why the groups behind the project held a Zoom session last night to answer questions from the community. Rumors have suggested the plan was to turn the site into pod shelters for the unhoused. Pastor Joel Brooks of Stones Church said that isn’t the case. “We have some ideas and the city was going to submit to us some ideas of possible uses for the land, but there is no plan to do anything (right now). Especially, no pods are going up,” he said. Any eventual homes that are built on the site would be available to families that qualify. For the moment, Brooks said they only intend to do a better job of caring for the building, which has been targeted by vandals.

More News You Need To Know

Legislature passes Right-to-Work repeal

The state’s new Democratic-led legislature has been moving quickly to pass a number of progressive priorities. The latest is a repeal of Michigan’s decade-old Right-to-Work law, which passed the Senate along party lines on Tuesday. It’s expected to pass quickly through the House before going to the governor’s desk. The bill overturns a 2012 law that allowed workers to opt out of paying dues to a union representing their workplace. It was a major blow to unions in Michigan when it passed, and they cheered its repeal on Tuesday.

Opponents of the repeal plan to fight it, though they may not have much success. Lawmakers employed a parliamentary trick that would prohibit a public vote on the issue. The rules passed on Tuesday allocate $2 million to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to help implement the changes. The state Constitution says voters can’t overturn laws that come with appropriations. Democrats have repeatedly criticized Republicans for using the same tactic to force through unpopular legislation. [Bridge Michigan]

Douglass Community Center undergoing renovations thanks to Habitat for Humanity

A community center in Kalamazoo’s Northside Neighborhood is getting a facelift. Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity is partnering with the Douglass Community Association to make improvements to the interior of the Douglass Community Center on Paterson Street. Most of the work will be done by volunteers from both organizations, with assistance provided by “We Nailed It Construction” and Migala Carpet One Floor & Home. The groups will freshen up the center’s community room, youth room, and a bathroom with paint, new carpet and tiles, and new plumbing. “We hope that our work not only helps to change lives, but acts as a permanent solution – ending the cycle of poverty by building generational wealth, especially for people from historically marginalized groups,” said Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Rob Oakleaf in a press release. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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Eco-Bricking – Climate Emergency Month
10:00AM 3/15

“Metropolitan Stories” by Christine Coulson – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
2:00PM 3/15

Connecting to the Culture – The Kalamazoo Promise
4:00PM 3/15

Environmental Ethics Talk; Grasslands, Garbage Islands, and Plastic Trees: Working Towards a Future Ecology – Climate Emergency Month
6:00PM 3/15

Trivia Night at the Bookstore – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
6:00PM 3/15

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
6:00PM 3/15

Out of Favor Boys – O’Duffy’s Pub
7:00PM 3/15

GD Funny! – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 3/15

The Travelin’ McCourys – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/15

The Changing Land and Waters of WMU’s Asylum Lake Natural Area: Status, Management, and Future Opportunities – Climate Emergency Month
4:30PM 3/16

Charmer, Freddie Sunshine, Finalbossfight!, [email protected] – Papa Pete’s
6:00PM 3/16

Patricia Polacco Presents: Palace of Books & Go Ask Ozzie – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
6:30PM 3/16

Kettle Belles – O’Duffy’s Pub
7:00PM 3/16

Becoming Dr. Ruth – Farmers Alley Theatre
7:30pm 3/16-18; 2pm 3/18

Eggy – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/16

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 3/16

Spring Flower & Garden Expo – Wedel’s
10am 3/17, 9am 3/18

Carrie McFerrin with Justin Wierenga – Shakespeare’s Pub
12:30PM 3/17

Marmalade Dog 26 – WMU, Bernhard Center
2:30pm 3/17, 9am 3/18, 10:30am 3/19

Bob Wallis, Jim Beebe, Greg Orr, & Ryan Demeniuk – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
5:00PM 3/17

Feel Frieda – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 3/17

Neil Jansen – The Thirsty Hound
6:30PM 3/17

Smokus Pocus: A 420 Magic Show – Dormouse Theatre
7:00PM 3/17

On The Town – WMU, Williams Theatre
7:30pm 3/17-18, 3/23-25; 2pm 3/19, 3/26

Morning’s at Seven – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 3/17-18, 3/24-25; 2pm 3/19, 3/26

Trifocal w/ Brother Smith – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/17

See more upcoming events here.

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