Kalamazoo County Land Bank – Riverview Launch
The Land Bank serves Kalamazoo County by eliminating blight, selling side lots, and returning tax-foreclosed and abandoned properties to active use. The project, Riverview Launch, is a redevelopment plan for a six acre tax-foreclosed site located on Riverview Drive in the City of Kalamazoo. The Land Bank facilitated a community conversation in 2013 resulting in a multi-year concept plan to repurpose just under 9,000 square feet including a commercial structure, historic barn, greenhouse and ancillary structures on the site. The project seeks to create a hub of local activity and increase access to community assets. The redevelopment will include site improvements, native plant restoration around the redevelopment, rehabilitation, and some new construction. The site will be used as a community facility for local programming and office space, and importantly, a center of interest and activity for Kalamazoo residents promoting both the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and the Kalamazoo River. The multi-year nature of the concept plan allows for continued community engagement and community building as an intentional component of the phasing of the project. Importantly, the site will facilitate the growth of valuable community programming. The growing Open Roads Bike Program and MSU Extension are working on programmatic offerings linked to the unique nature of the site. These include a pilot junior master gardener course and linkages with new urban 4-H efforts. In early 2014, a newly crafted native bee house will be installed at the site by 4-H and Trybal Revival Gardens as a part of this effort. Open Roads plans to begin programming and locating at the site in 2014. Plans for youth programming connected to this site will provide opportunities for Kalamazoo youth to experience new opportunities associated with biking, active and healthy lifestyles, growing and gardening, and opportunities to learn business and entrepreneurial skills. Riverview Launch also supports the two primary goals of the Kalamazoo Riverfront Redevelopment Plan: 1) Using the river to bind the East and West sides of the city together, and 2) creating a lively and vibrant Riverfront District.