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  #241  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2018, 4:00 PM
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In local news that is surprising to probably no one, on April 10 Portage City Council approved a massive tax break for Pfizer, as it plans a major sterile processing facility at its Portage manufacturing site.

Quote:
Portage City Council approves tax breaks for Pfizer expansion plan
Crain's Detroit Business | Associated Press
April 12, 2018

City officials in Portage have approved property tax breaks for a $465 million expansion project by New York City-based Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE). The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Portage City Council voted this week to approve an exemption that will cut property taxes in half for 15 years, including three years during construction. Pfizer agreed to maintain 2,000 (note, article improperly said 200) current employees and hire at least 450 new people before the tax break expires. The pharmaceutical company sought the exemption for a sterile processing facility in the city just south of Kalamazoo. The newspaper said a total of $32.1 million in revenue will be forgone by local taxing jurisdictions during the tax break, which is set to expire in 2033...

Last edited by deja vu; Apr 15, 2018 at 3:06 PM.
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  #242  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2018, 3:31 PM
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Work has begun at Bronson Park to remove some other statuary, in advance of plans to dismantle the Fountain of the Pioneers. For now, the plan is that both of these spaces will be converted into open green space.

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Bronson Park work will revamp Kalamazoo's 'front porch'
Evan Dean | Wood TV
April 9, 2018

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Major changes are underway at Bronson Park in Kalamazoo after commissioners voted in March to remove the controversial Fountain of the Pioneers. On Monday, workers started the overhaul by removing the sculptures of children in the reflecting pool across from the fountain. Those will eventually return to the park in a different spot...

...what will happen at Bronson Park, at least in the short term, is becoming clearer. Fletcher said the two concrete pools that contain the fountain and sculptures will also be torn out and replaced by grass. Ideally, that will be completed by the end of May...

Source: Wood TV

Concept Rendering

Source: Wood TV | Courtesy Rendering
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  #243  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2018, 8:19 AM
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Bronson Park is one of the nicer central squares in the state; I've always been a bit jealous of it. I know it's very unlikely to happen since we just don't much do this anymore in this country, but a soaring monument would be such a great addition to the park, if even just a modern, scaled-down take on the likes of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monuments in Detroit and Indianapolis.

Really, I'd have just been for just reworking the fountain. But it seems that this was really just about using the fountain's controversial nature to remove something that costs a bit to maintain. Most of Lansing's downtown fountains got removed, and it was always put down to the cost of upkeep. The only reason the big historic one in Reutter Park has stayed is just that: It's big and historic and residents would have a fit if they removed it. Given that it was a gift, I bet their is probably some kind of deed restriction attached to it, too.
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  #244  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2018, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
Bronson Park is one of the nicer central squares in the state; I've always been a bit jealous of it. I know it's very unlikely to happen since we just don't much do this anymore in this country, but a soaring monument would be such a great addition to the park, if even just a modern, scaled-down take on the likes of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monuments in Detroit and Indianapolis.

Really, I'd have just been for just reworking the fountain. But it seems that this was really just about using the fountain's controversial nature to remove something that costs a bit to maintain. Most of Lansing's downtown fountains got removed, and it was always put down to the cost of upkeep. The only reason the big historic one in Reutter Park has stayed is just that: It's big and historic and residents would have a fit if they removed it. Given that it was a gift, I bet their is probably some kind of deed restriction attached to it, too.
It is definitely an asset to the city. I agree that there was more motivation than racial tension that led to the demise of the fountain and the adjacent children sculptures. The 'Lunchtime Live' and Summer concert series really activate the space. The added green space for audiences will be good (the best seating locations having been where the water features stood). I only wish that the traffic of adjacent Park St. wasn't so close / so loud. It kinda makes having a covered band shell right there seem silly.

Removal of the main fountain is scheduled to begin next week. We'll see if it goes quietly.

Quote:
Removal of controversial Bronson Park fountain starts next week
Malachi Barrett | MLive
April 17, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The process to remove Bronson Park's Fountain of the Pioneers will start next week. Expect to see construction fences go up around the fountain complex this week. Both reflecting pools will be replaced with lawn panels, while three upper sections of the 78-year-old fountain, including its most controversial elements, will be disassembled and put into storage...
The estimated cost to deconstruct the fountain is $225,000. Wightman & Associates conducted a digital scan of the fountain and photo documentation in March for the city archives and to aid in possible reconstruction efforts in the future.
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  #245  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 10:48 PM
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Not Kalamazoo, but this should be a pretty big deal for Battle Creek's downtown. New Holland Brewing announced it plans to open a new brewpub at 64 W. Michigan Ave, right across the street from the Battle Creek Tower. The business will receive a grant from Battle Creek Unlimited to help with the renovation efforts in the former night club building. They will have less competition here than in Kalamazoo, which may or may not have had any bearing on the decision.

Quote:
New Holland Brewing to open Battle Creek location in 2019
Malachi Barrett | MLive
April 20, 2018

BATTLE CREEK, MI -- New Holland Brewing Company is opening a new location in downtown Battle Creek next year. The West Michigan craft beverage business was selected for a $200,000 grant after Battle Creek Unlimited sought proposals for a new brewery or distillery last winter. Plans for New Holland's 64 W. Michigan Ave. location include a roughly $1 million renovation of a former night club into a brewery and distillery, restaurant, seasonal beer garden, retail space and possibly a coffee bar...
Some might recall that Arcadia Brewing closed its doors just a few steps down the street last year at 103 W. Michigan Ave. This apparently had more to do with structural issues in the building than business being down. From what I can tell, Arcadia still wants to retain a presence in Battle Creek and has been working on finding a new downtown location. Not sure why New Holland ended up with this space and this grant instead of Arcadia, for they certainly must have been looking at it as well.
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  #246  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 11:34 PM
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Kalamazoo Gospel Mission has announced its intention to construct a new building downtown to serve women and children in need. If built, the new structure would replace four aging and dilapidated buildings along North Burdick St. At least two of these edifices looks to have historic merits, but the whole assemblage has been quite remuddled, and they are apparently in pretty bad shape and they are only utilizing about 10% of the space within these particular four buildings. I don't believe that they are beyond repair, but certainly prohibitive costs would be involved for an organization that depends mostly on donations to practice its mission of service to the homeless, hurting, and hungry. A new, cohesive building would likely serve them much better.

It's not a source of pride, but Kalamazoo has a disproportionate homeless challenge for a city of its size. Kalamazoo was recently called out as having the greatest concentration of homeless children in the entire state of Michigan, and the greatest percentage of homeless students. The Gospel Mission has raised more than $2 million already. The completed shelter expansion is expected to house nearly 200 women and children.

Quote:
$3M campaign underway to help build new shelter for women and children
AL Jones | MLive
April 19, 2018

KALAMAZOO, MI - "A Shelter From Their Storm" is the name of the fund-raising campaign intended to raise $3 million to help build a new women and children's shelter at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

"Currently one of our facilities is actually four old buildings that are dilapidated, that are not serving their purpose any more," said Pastor Michael Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Gospel Mission, locate at 448 N. Burdick St. in downtown Kalamazoo. "They're far beyond repair and we're not able to renovate. And so what we want to do is replace those old buildings..."

Source: MLive | Courtesy Kalamazoo Gospel Mission / Schley Architects

Screen shots of floor Plans with some Photoshop skewing to counteract perspective of the camera angle (not super-great quality):

First Floor


Second Floor


Third Floor

Source: WWMT | Courtesy Kalamazoo Gospel Mission / Schley Architects

Last edited by deja vu; Apr 21, 2018 at 12:45 AM.
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