mlive’s Logo

Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market plan for new multi-purpose building could get federal funds

KALAMAZOO, MI — As weekly Farmers’ Market events wrap up with reduced hours in December, plans are underway that could help accommodate year-round activities at the site.

A proposed addition of a multi-purpose building, called the Market Event Building, to the Kalamazoo Farmers Market is on the short list of projects and programs seeking to get some of the American Rescue Plan Act federal dollars coming to the city. Once constructed, the building could house after-school programs, winter markets, and community event space with a kitchen.

The Kalamazoo City Commission this week received a proposal to spend $3 million of its federal government stimulus money on the multi-purpose market building. The Market Event Building is Phase 2 of a larger improvement project that resulted in the renovation of vendor pavilions, restrooms, parking lots and more in the completed first phase.

However, the plan to spend federal stimulus money on expanding the farmers’ market has been criticized by city commissioners. They offered alternative suggestions for after-school programs.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about our need for temporary housing for the homeless in the community and when I see $3 million for a multipurpose building, I have to take a deep breath and pause,” said Commissioner Stephanie Hoffman. She mentioned the idea of ​​partnering with schools to offer after-school programs there rather than in a new building.

Deputy Mayor Don Cooney shared similar comments, wanting to partner with schools in existing buildings to house the programs.

“These buildings are paid for, we have them, they’re in key places, I really think we need to look at that,” Cooney said.

Initial estimates were nearly $6 million for the construction of a multi-purpose building on the site. The Department of Parks and Recreation is expecting an updated cost forecast from construction company Miller Davis later this month, Kalamazoo Director of Communications Mike Smith told MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette.

The timeline for the project has yet to be determined based on funding, Smith said.

Parks and Recreation Director Patrick McVerry told commissioners this week the initial plan was for a building that would only serve the market at 1204 Bank Street, but as the process evolved organizers realized how this could benefit more than the market.

The Market Event Building will primarily be used as a new after-school site for youth programs and development, he said. It will serve as a summer camp in the summer, he said.

The new building would replace the aging Youth Development Center, which houses Parks and Recreation’s main after-school program and is also a Camp Kzoo summer camp site, Smith said. The Youth Development Center is located at 230 E. Crosstown Parkway near the site of the Kalamazoo Farmers Market.

The building would include a small kitchen and could be used for community meetings and events. The Farmers’ Market can use the site for winter markets, McVerry said. A playground will be added to the site, he said.

There would be a dedicated food truck area for better access to customers, as well as power for food trucks, McVerry said.

The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation gave the city $1 million for market expansion, McVerry said. The city has also applied for other funding, he said. The full cost is not known at this time, in part due to supply chain issues, he said.

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market is a popular gathering place for people and a variety of vendors who gather there for the weekly trade from May to mid-December. Design work on the proposed expansion continued throughout the year, city officials said.

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market reopened to the public for the 2022 season in May after a major redevelopment. The market moved to reduced hours from November 26, with events from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays from November 26 to December 17.

Commissioners heard reports on recommendations to spend $38 million in total stimulus funds received from the federal government. Other proposals include venue creation efforts, retention bonuses for public safety officers, housing initiatives, and more.

Kalamazoo Farmers Market

A product pictured at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market in October 2022. The market reopened at its location on Bank Street in 2022 after a major refurbishment.

Read more:

$55 million project with 222 apartments planned in Kalamazoo receives state financial support

Dabney & Co. Celebrates Grand Opening of New Lounge in Downtown Kalamazoo

Portage School Board Member Resigns, District Seeks Nominations

#Kalamazoo #Farmers #Market #plan #multipurpose #building #federal #funds

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *