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Kalamazoo: Recreation

Kalamazoo: Recreation

Sightseeing

Kalamazoo's Bronson Park is the centerpiece of the city's downtown and features sculptures, war monuments, and historical markers and hosts various festivals and cultural events. Maps for self-directed walking/driving tours of three historic districts throughout Kalamazoo are available from the Convention Bureau and at City Hall. The Village of Schoolcraft offers tours by appointment of the 1835 Underground Railroad Home where a local physician once hid escaped slaves.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum, in the city's downtown, features a Digistar theater and planetarium, a creative preschool activity area, and the Challenger Learning Center, in which children can take off on a simulated space mission. It also houses a 2,300-year-old mummy and hands-on science and history exhibits. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts includes an interactive gallery called ARTworks, a new community auditorium, and a museum store.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center has an exhibit hall where visitors can perform experiments, learn about plants and animals, and view natural objects magnified 10-fold. Its Parfet Butterfly House provides an indoor tropical sun-rain room, an outdoor garden, and a barn which houses farm animals. Also on site are an 11-acre arboretum and nature trails that are wheelchair and stroller accessible. In nearby Augusta is the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary where year-round visitors can walk a self-guided trail and observe the native waterfowl and birds of prey along Wintergreen Lake. Also in Augusta is the Fort Custer National Cemetery, an official burial ground for U.S. veterans, which contains the graves of 26 German soldiers held as American prisoners during World War II.

The Kalamazoo Air Zoo presents a display of over 60 vintage aircraft and an area that allows visitors to climb into mock cockpits and pretend to fly. Rides include a virtual reality simulator and a four-dimensional theater that puts visitors in the middle of a World War II bombing mission. In nearby Hickory Corners, auto buffs can visit Gilmore Car Museum, rated one of the ten best in the country. The museum outlines the development of the American car in a six-barn, 90-acred, landscaped setting and features almost 200 vehicles from the past century.

Visitors to what was once known as "Celery City" can experience what life was like during the city's past in nearby Portage, were the Celery Flats Interpretive Center features exhibits of the age of celery production. Music lovers can visit the Gibson/Heritage Guitar building, a factory where Gibson Guitars were built in the early 1900s.

The Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, eight miles west of Kalamazoo, has hourly tours, a slide show, and a display pond. The Kellogg Dairy Center in Hickory Corners provides various tours where visitors can learn about the dairy cycle and observe a computerized milking parlor.

Arts and Culture

Miller Auditorium at the Western Michigan University campus made its debut in 1968 and now is the site of touring Broadway shows, conventions, and jazz, rock, and symphonic concerts. Wings Stadium hosts arena-style concerts of popular music acts for audiences of about 8,000. The 1,569-seat State Theatre, built in 1927, features music and comedy performers under a star-spangled sky projected on the ceiling. Chenery Auditorium hosts concerts and travel-film series at this handsome 1,900-seat public facility. The intimate 200-seat Suzanne D. Parish Theatre carries several plays throughout the year while the Carver Center hosts the Civic Arena Theatre, Civic Black Theatre, and Kalamazoo Civic Youth Theatre, among others.

Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium is also the home of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO) that presents a full concert series, as well as chamber and family concerts year-round. KSO also offers free summer concerts at local parks. Fontana Chamber Arts presents chamber music concerts at various sites throughout the city. The Kalamazoo Concert Band, made up of adult musicians and founded in 1961, presents a series of concerts at several local venues. An array of dance performances, from ballet and folk to highland flings are presented by the Kalamazoo Ballet Company at the Comstock Community Auditorium and other sites throughout the city.

Several area theaters offer a variety of performances such as WMU's Irving S. Gilmore Theatre Complex, the Actors & Playwrights' Initiative (API) Theatre, and the Whole Art Theater Company. The New Vic Theatre presents both experimental and traditional fare, including an annual holiday schedule of A Christmas Carol. During its 16-week summer-stock season, the Barn Theatre in nearby Augusta draws about 50,000 patrons.

Festivals and Holidays

Autumn in Kalamazoo offers the National Street Rod Association race at the Kalamazoo County while the annual Festival of Trees takes place at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in November. December brings the New Year's Fest at Bronson Park and surrounding buildings.

The cold winter weather is perfect for January's Great Winter Adventure featuring ice sculpting, and at nearby Timber Ridge visitors can enjoy a variety of snow-related activities at the Winter Fest Fun event. March turns downtown green for the St. Patrick's Day parade; the Kalamazoo Nature Center is sticky sweet with the Maple Sugar Festival.

The Annual Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion takes place at WMU/Miller Auditorium in early April and proud canines are the focus of the West Michigan Apple Blossom Cluster A.K.C. Dog Show at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds in May.

Among June's activities are the Mayfair celebration at Bronson Park, the Dionysos Greekfest, and the Island Fest at Arcadia Festival Site. Also in June are the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts's Art Fair at Bronson Park, the Do-Dah Parade downtown, and the Parade of Homes, which takes place throughout the Kalamazoo area. The actors of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival take the stage at the Celery Flats Amphitheater at the end of the month.

In July, the Great Lakes Folk Festival is at Celery Flats and the Team U.S. National Hot-Air Balloon championship takes flight at Kellogg Airfield in Battle Creek. Other July events include the Blues Festival, a Taste of Kalamazoo at the Arcadia Festival Place, Warbirds Over Kalamazoo at the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum, and the Silver Leaf Renaissance Faire, which is presented on certain weekends at the River Oaks County Park.

The Kalamazoo County Fair at the Fairgrounds brings food and fun to the citizenry in August, which is also the month for the Ribfest at the Arcadia Festival Site, the weeklong Black Arts Festival that can be seen at various downtown locations, the two-day Red Barns Spectacular at the Gilmore Car Museum, and the Scottish Fest at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds.

Arcadia Creek in downtown Kalamazoo is a popular festival area that features a natural river encased underground and surrounded by a park. Every other spring, Kalamazoo is the site of the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, which involves more than 100 keyboard-related events that take place throughout western Michigan.

Sports for the Spectator

Kalamazoo's professional hockey team, the Michigan K-Wings, is in the United Hockey League (UHL) and plays at Wings Stadium. The Kalamazoo area is also home to the men's Kalamazoo Kingdom and women's Kalamazoo Quest of the United Soccer Leagues. Stowe Stadium at Kalamazoo College hosts the U.S. Tennis Association Boys' 1816 National Championships every year. Since 1980 the Little League Girls' Softball Senior and Big League World Series is held at Vanderberg Park. NASCAR racing has a weekly series at the Kalamazoo Speedway.

Fans of college sports have many events from which to choose. Western Michigan University has men's baseball, basketball, football, ice hockey, soccer, tennis, and track/cross country, while women compete in basketball, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, golf, precision ice skating, and track/cross country. Many of the competitions are open to spectators.

Kalamazoo College has varsity men's teams competing in baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, and tennis. Women's teams compete in basketball, cross country, softball, soccer, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and golf. The Cougars of Kalamazoo Valley Community College have intercollegiate competitions in volleyball, basketball, softball, and tennis for women, and basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf for men.

Sports for the Participant

The city of Kalamazoo has 55 parks that cover nearly 1,300 acres. The city has three golf courses and many more are nearby. Kalamazoo County offers more than 100 public outdoor tennis courts including Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium and boating opportunities on nearby Gull Lake and Lake Michigan. The Kal-Haven Trail, which runs from the city to South Haven, Michigan, is a biking/hiking/snowmobile/cross country skiing trail that runs for 34 miles. Water sports are readily accessed via the area's 83 public-access lakes.

Shopping and Dining

Kalamazoo has four major shopping malls. Kalamazoo Mall, once famous as the first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in the country, is now open to traffic and features a variety of shops, galleries, and dining establishments. Four large department stores anchor the Crossroads regional shopping mall, which has more than 100 specialty stores and restaurants. Maple Hill Mall, home to a major office store and discount and specialty stores, underwent renovations in 2001, expanding to 642,000 square feet. Southland Mall features office, book, and clothing shops, as well as other retail stores.

Southwestern Michigan is known for its wineries and microbreweries, whose products can be enjoyed at the wide selection of restaurants in Kalamazoo. Dining choices run from ethnic restaurants featuring Mexican, Italian, Greek, Australian, and Chinese to local and chain establishments that serve hearty American fare, such as St. Louis-style ribs, seafood, fresh fish, prime rib, and other favorites. The Black Swan provides gourmet continental cuisine with choices like leg of lamb or beef Wellington for two in its attractive location on Willow Lake. Webster's Restaurant at the Radisson Plaza hotel is western Michigan's only AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant, and features seafood, chops, pasta, and fresh desserts.

Visitor Information: Kalamazoo County Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Chamber Building, 346 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3783; telephone (269)381-4003; toll-free (800)530-9192

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Kalamazoo: Economy

Kalamazoo: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Kalamazoo is located close to the automobile manufacturing center of Detroit, Michigan, and the Kalamazoo area has automotive components companies and plastics firms that make automotive testing equipment and hydraulic systems. Eaton Corporation's North American truck component headquarters and Checker Motors are also based in the city.

Kalamazoo's diversified economic base also includes the production of pharmaceutical and medical products, cereals, and paper products, as well as financial services.

Downtown Kalamazoo remains the site of Pfizer's offices, manufacturing facilities, and research labs following its buyout of the homegrown Pharmacia & Upjohn Company (whose presence in the community dated back more than a century) which has helped to keep the local economy somewhat stable. Once a giant paper production area, Kalamazoo's importance in this field has greatly diminished. However, several paper manufacturing firms, such as the James River Corporation, continue to manufacture paper items locally.

Western Michigan University, which employs nearly 2,900 people, also makes a significant contribution to the local economy. One of Kalamazoo County's fastest growing employers is National City Bank. Farms near the city produce hay and corn, as well as fruit.

Items and goods produced: fruit, flowering plants, peppermint, and other agricultural products; pharmaceuticals; paper and paper products; metal products; machinery; guitars

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Kalamazoo's Community Planning and Development Department assists local businesses and industries by providing technical assistance with site selection for expansion or relocation, through tax abatements, and by providing help with permits and other paperwork. The Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act is operated by the city and provides many tax relief benefits to redevelopers. Southwest Michigan First is an organization dedicated to developing and implementing a successful long-term economic strategy for the area. Kalamazoo College's Stryker Center provides small businesses with information in obtaining commercial loans. The Small Business Revolving Fund can supply up to $40,000 in funding.

State programs

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) was created to further the formation of new jobs that feed into a prosperous economy. Small Business Tax (SBT) credits are available for fiscally-responsible companies in the fields of manufacturing, research and development, wholesale trade, or office operations. Michigan communities can abate up to 50 percent of local property taxes for up to 12 years. Since 2001 the Kalamazoo area has six designated Renaissance Zones that, if a business locates inside the zone, allows for waiving a variety of taxes such as the single business tax, local real property tax, and utility users tax. State law also exempts inventory, pollution control equipment, and certain tools, dies, jigs, and fixtures from local property taxes.

Job training programs

Michigan offers a coordinated job training system called "Michigan Works!" using federal, state, and local resources to provide a highly productive and trained workforce. The federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and state Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth (MDLEG) provide funding for the grants that assist in increasing worker productivity. The training itself is done through the institution of the company's choice. Free recruitment and screening services are available for new and expanding employers through the Michigan Employment Security Administration's job service and also through several local school districts. However, all hiring decisions belong to the company.

Development Projects

Kalamazoo's Neighborhood and Economic Development office helps in identifying and promoting properties that are prime for building. A $2.83 million grant from the Clean Michigan Initiative Waterfront Redevelopment is playing a part in the "Riverfront Redevelopment Plan" that strives to utilize the land for a mix of business and residential purposes.

Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park continued expansion of its Southwest Michigan Innovation Center (SMIC) and ability to draw advanced engineering, life sciences, and information technology companies has proved to be a major economic catalyst for the area. When Pfizer acquired Pharmacia & Upjohn Company in 2002, the Southwest Michigan First organization played a vital role in retaining scientists with its "Stick Around" campaign. This effort has allowed for nearly two dozen companies to move into the research park including VDDI Pharmaceuticals in 2003 and TEKNA Solutions Inc., who announced in March 2005 that it will build a 24,000-square-foot facility.

In a continued effort for a new justice center in the downtown area to centralize Kalamazoo's public safety and court facilities, a bond proposal was put into action in April 2005 by the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners. A new $32 million wing terminal was to begin construction in the summer of 2005 that will increase the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport to 93,000 square feet.

In 2005 a groundbreaking was planned for a new Michigan Space & Science Center at the Air Zoo. It will host a $30 million space artifact collection acquired from the previous facility at Jackson Community College and be located on 30,000 square feet of land that will include a 120-seat theater. Nearby Gilmore Car Museum expanded their facilities by 50 percent with the addition of three exhibit buildings in 2004.

Economic Development Information: Southwest Michigan First, 346 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007; telephone (269)553-9588; fax (269)553-6897; email info@southwestmichiganfirst.com

Commercial Shipping

Kalamazoo County has 26 motor carriers; ConRail and Grand Trunk Western railways provide freight rail service.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Kalamazoo is said to have a diverse labor force with a wide range of skills. Local colleges assist job seekers via training and placement programs in conjunction with area businesses. The economic recession in the early 2000s took a toll on area employment opportunities, though, with dramatic declines in the manufacturing sector. According to the W. E. Upjohn Institute, as of March 2005 the manufacturing industry failed to progress at a similar rate to national levels resulting in the loss of several hundred potential positions. Private education and healthcare were great performers for Kalamazoo, both exceeding national growth. Overall, the Institute does project modest gains in total employment, particularly in the service industry, with manufacturing looking toward slight improvement.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Kalamazoo-Portage metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual average.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 144,300

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 6,500

manufacturing: 24,500

trade, transportation, and utilities: 25,500

information: 1,500

financial activities: 7,600

professional and business services: 14,100

educational and health services: 19,800

leisure and hospitality: 14,900

other services: 6,700

government: 23,300

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.90

Unemployment rate: 6.5% (February 2005)

Largest employers (Kalamazoo-Portage area) Number of employees
Pfizer 6,100
Bronson Hospital 3,000
National City Bank 2,922
Western Michigan University 2,887
Borgess Health Alliance 2,410
Meijer, Inc. 2,400
Kalamazoo Public Schools 2,300
Portage Public Schools 2,300
Stryker Corporation (hospital equipment) 1,400
Kalamazoo Valley Community College 1,100

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Kalamazoo area.

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

State income tax rate: 3.9%

State sales tax rate: 6.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: up to 25 mills per $1,000 (2005)

Economic Information: Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce, 346 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007; telephone (269)381-4000; fax (269)343-0430; email editor@kazoochamber.com

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Kalamazoo: History

Kalamazoo: History

Early Days as "Celery City"

Sometime before the early seventeenth century, the Potawatomi Indians moved from the east coast of the United States and established settlements in southern Michigan, where they fished and hunted for wild game. They called the river that flows through present-day Kalamazoo "Kikalamazoo," which means "boiling water" because of the hundreds of bubbling springs in it. In 1823, a trading post called Kikalamazoo was established on the banks of the river.

In 1827 the Potawatomi ceded their Michigan lands to the United States, and permanent settlers began to arrive in 1829. They were led by Titus Bronson, who called the town Bronson. But Titus Bronson was an outspoken man who voiced strong political opinions, and some critics say he was overly fond of alcohol. Historians say his crankiness and restless, erratic behavior, symptomatic of what is today called Tourette's syndrome, did not endear him to settlers who came after.

In 1833, with a population of about 100 people, Kalamazoo demonstrated its commitment to higher education by establishing Kalamazoo College. During the winter of 1835, a movement began to officially change the name of the town from Bronson back to its Indian name in the shortened form Kalamazoo. This was finalized before the state of Michigan was entered into the Union in January 1837.

The years 1834 to 1837 were a time of prosperity in the United States and the greatest land sales in American history took place. In 1835, the land office at Kalamazoo sold more acres than any other land office in the history of the country. More than 1.6 million acres were sold, accounting for more than $2 million in receipts. According to the Detroit Democratic Free Press newspaper: "We are informed that the village of Kalamazoo is literally thronged with purchasers. The public and private houses are full and . . . in some instances, they are compelled to retire to the barns for . . . lodging."

In 1847, a group of religious refugees from The Netherlands settled in Kalamazoo at the same time a Scotsman named James Taylor was experimenting with celery seeds imported from England. Taylor could not convince the townsfolk of the joys of eating celery (they thought it was poisonous). His experiment languished for 10 years until a Dutchman named Cornelius De Bruin began to cultivate celery in the rich black muck along the Kalamazoo River. The De Bruin children sold the celery door to door. Before long, the celery fields of "Celery City" were flourishing and it was not uncommon to see Kalamazoo peddlers selling celery on the streets of the little town.

Transition to "Paper and Rice City"

With their marshes proving so profitable, civic leaders turned their attention to advertising the city's water resources to potential investors in a paper mill. In 1874, Kalamazoo Paper was established, just the first of many companies that would make Kalamazoo a paper mill center. Soon other industries were attracted to the town, which was strategically located between Detroit and Chicago.

One early entrepreneur was William Erastus Upjohn, who graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1875 and opened up a private practice and a pharmaceutical laboratory in Kalamazoo. He developed a process for making pills and granules that resulted in 1885 in the Upjohn Pill and Granule Company. Upjohn's experiment became Pharmacia & Upjohn Company then Pharmacia Corp. More industries followed at the end of the nineteenth century, and Kalamazoo was turning out stoves, essential oils, and iron and allied products.

Growth as Educational Center

Kalamazoo was incorporated as a city in 1883 and began a rapid modernization, installing a horse-car line that year and following two years later with an electric light and power plant. The city's educational system also experienced steady growth with the opening of the all-women's Nazareth College in 1871 then Western Michigan University's founding in 1903.

In 1918, Kalamazoo was one of the first cities in Michigan to adopt the commission-manager form of government, led by Dr. Upjohn as the inaugural mayor. Many fine buildings were constructed, including city hall in 1931, the five-story county building in 1937, and fine homes representing several architectural styles, including a number of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Usonian" homes constructed during the 1940s.

By 1937, Kalamazoo boasted 151 industrial establishments manufacturing goods valued at more than $70 million. Thirteen paper mills dominated the industrial scene; other industries included cultivated peppermint and the manufacture of taxicabs, furnaces, auto bodies, transmissions, caskets, clothing, fishing rods and reels, playing cards, and musical instruments. Kalamazoo has nurtured cultural activities as well as industry. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra was established in 1921; the city also boasts the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, founded in 1924, and numerous performing arts groups.

Kalamazoo opened the country's first permanent outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in 1959. Despite economic turbulence in the early 2000s, the city remains a prosperous center of diverse industries and agricultural products. City planners have worked actively to overcome the loss of major area businesses. One such example is the flourishing of the Business Technology and Research Park at Western Michigan University to compensate for job losses tied to Pfizer's acquisition of Kalamazoo's largest employer, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company. In July 2002 the multimillion-dollar producer of pharmaceuticals and agricultural seeds was bought out for $60 billion in stock by New York City-based Pfizer, but retains the Kalamazoo laboratories. The area appeals to workers for its small-town charm coupled with a wide variety of cultural activities. A variety of tax incentives make it enticing to high-growth businesses as well.

Historical Information: Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collection, Rm. 111, East Hall, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008; telephone (269)387-8490; fax (269)387-8484; email archcollect@wmich.edu

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Kalamazoo: Education and Research

Kalamazoo: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The students in Kalamazoo's schools have access to the Education for Employment (EFE) program, which helps them in planning for their future careers, as well as the Education for the Arts (EFA) program, which enhances their art education with dance, literary arts, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts classes. The Kalamazoo Area Mathematics & Science Center offers accelerated programs in math, science, and technology to public and private high school students.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Kalamazoo public school system as of the 20042005 school year.

Total enrollment: 10,500

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 16

middle schools: 3

senior high schools: 2

other: 8

Student/teacher ratio: 17:1

Teacher salaries

average: $54,020

Funding per pupil: $9,304 (2002-2003)

Approximately 1,500 Kalamazoo students attend local Christian schools, more than 1,700 attend Catholic schools, and about 500 attend other non-public schools.

Public Schools Information: Kalamazoo Public Schools, 1220 Howard St., Kalamazoo, MI 49008; telephone (269)337-0100

Colleges and Universities

Kalamazoo is the site of two universities and two colleges. Western Michigan University (WMU), one of the top public research universities in the country, offers 254 degree and certificate programs to its nearly 28,000 students. Its wide array of centers and institutes conduct research and share knowledge gained with business, government, and other organizations. U.S. News and World Report magazine has consistently ranked WMU as a leading national university throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Kalamazoo College, Michigan's oldest (founded in 1833), is located in Kalamazoo's historic district and offers its 1,234 students bachelor of arts degree programs in 25 majors and 9 areas of concentration, such as international and area studies, environmental studies, public policy and urban affairs, and others. Among its 19 buildings and facilities are the Dow Science Center, and the Stryker Center, which offers seminars in business and management.

Davenport University, the largest independent university system in the state, is based in Grand Rapids but has more than 1,000 students on its Kalamazoo campus. The Kalamazoo campus offers bachelor of science, bachelor of applied science, associate of science, and associate of applied science degrees, as well as certificate programs, in a variety of areas in business, health care, and legal studies. Kalamazoo Valley Community College offers its 9,300 students associate in arts, associate in science, and associate in applied science degrees, as well as certificates. It prides itself on its flexible scheduling and provides areas of study that include liberal arts, health and sciences, business, and the technologies.

Libraries and Research Centers

With a stunning granite and limestone exterior, the Kalamazoo Public Library has a four-level rotunda that admits natural light through a skylight via a 79-foot dome. The library's five buildings feature holographic materials and light sculptures that result in an ever-changing rainbow of colors. In addition to the main branch the library maintains four branches and one bookmobile, contains roughly 436,000 volumes and has special collections in history, culture, African American studies, and Kalamazoo history.

Davenport University, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and Western Michigan University all have libraries. The W. E. Upjohn Institute Library has titles focusing on labor market issues, and state and local economic development, among other topics. Borgess Health Information Library has a special community health information section, and Bronson Methodist Hospital Library focuses on allied and consumer health issues.

Two research centers in Kalamazoo are the Kalamazoo Nature Center and the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Western Michigan University is the site of several research and technology centers and also has centers focusing on computer graphics, design excellence, environmental signal transduction, and biological imaging, Black Americana studies, business, women's studies, and ethics.

Public Library Information: Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007; telephone (269)342-9837

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Kalamazoo: Communications

Kalamazoo: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Kalamazoo's daily paper is the Kalamazoo Gazette. Western Michigan University's The Western Herald student newspaper is published Monday-Thursday throughout the academic year. Flashes Shopping Guide appears weekly.

Local magazines include Bloodlines, featuring various breeds of dogs; Coonhound Bloodlines ; Hunting Retriever ; Business Outlook for West Michigan ; and Third Coast, a magazine by the Western Michigan University English Department.

A number of journals are associated with WMU that cover business, accounting, drama, Medieval studies, and sociology. Fetzer Institute publishes Advances, a journal on body health.

Television and Radio

Kalamazoo has one network, one independent, and one television station. The city has four AM radio stations, with news formats, one with a sports format, and one with music format. Two of the seven local FM-radio stations adult contemporary music formats, while the formats of other five include Top 40, classic rock, alternative classical music, and an independent format.

Media Information: The Kalamazoo Gazette, 401 Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007; telephone (269)345-3511

Kalamazoo Online

City of Kalamazoo home page. Available www.ci.kalamazoo.mi.us

Kalamazoo County community profile. Available.multimag.com/county/mi/kalamazoo/demo.html

Kalamazoo County Convention & Visitors Bureau. able www.kazoofun.com

Kalamazoo Gazette. Available www.mlive.com/kzgazette

Kalamazoo Public Library. Available www.kpl.gov

Kalamazoo Public Schools. Available www.kalamazoopublicschools.com

Kalamazoo Regional County Chamber of Commerce. Available www.kazoochamber.com

Selected Bibliography

Connable, Al (Alfred Barnes) as told to Tom Thinnes, Michigan Man: The Life and Times of Kalamazoo's Al Connable (Allegan Forest, MI: Priscilla Press, 2000)

Durant, Samuel W., and Ruth Marian Robbins Monteith, History of

Kalamazoo County, Michigan: with illustrations and biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers (Evansville, IN: Unigraphic, 1976)

Lane, Kit, Built on the Banks of the Kalamazoo (Douglas, MI: Pavilion Press, 1993)

Massie, Larry B. and Peter J. Schmitt, Kalamazoo: The Place Behind the Products (Sun Valley, CA: American Historical Press, 1998)

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Kalamazoo: Population Profile

Kalamazoo: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 279,192 (SMSA)

1990: 429,453 (MSA)

2000: 452,851 (MSA)

Percent change, 19902000: 5.4%

U.S. rank in 1990: 82nd (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 91st (MSA)

City Residents

1980: 79,722

1990: 80,277

2000: 77,145

2003 estimate: 75,312

Percent change, 19902000: -3.9%

U.S. rank in 1990: 322nd

U.S. rank in 2000: 390th

Density: 3,125.4 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 54,593

Black or African American: 15,924

American Indian and Alaska Native: 445

Asian: 1,847

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 50

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 3,304

Other: 1,836

Percent of residents born in state: 69.2% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 4,786

Population 5 to 9 years old: 4,530

Population 10 to 14 years old: 4,121

Population 15 to 19 years old: 9,315

Population 20 to 24 years old: 14,179

Population 25 to 34 years old: 11,585

Population 35 to 44 years old: 9,095

Population 45 to 54 years old: 7,434

Population 55 to 59 years old: 2,458

Population 60 to 64 years old: 1,845

Population 65 to 74 years old: 3,505

Population 75 to 84 years old: 2,919

Population 85 years and over: 1,373

Median age: 26.1 years (2000)

Births (2003)

Total number: 1,411

Deaths (2003)

Total number: 640 (of which, 15 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $16,897

Median household income: $31,189 (1999)

Total households: 29,415

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 4,527

$10,000 to $14,999: 2,757

$15,000 to $24,999: 4,932

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,790

$35,000 to $49,999: 4,801

$50,000 to $74,999: 4,733

$75,000 to $99,999: 1,880

$100,000 to $149,999: 1,305

$150,000 to $199,999: 316

$200,000 or more: 374

Percent of families below poverty level: 13.6% (46.9% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 6,315

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Kalamazoo: Convention Facilities

Kalamazoo: Convention Facilities

Among Kalamazoo's major conference facilities are Bernhard Center at Western Michigan University, which has 25 meeting rooms with a maximum capacity of 1,700 people in meeting-style and 1,250 in banquet-style rooms. The John E. Fetzer Center on the Western Michigan University campus has 13 meeting rooms that can handle 280 banquet-style, 90-seat lecture hall, and a 250-seat auditorium.

The Clarion Hotel offers 13 meeting rooms and features a 400-seat ballroom along with several banquet-style and classroom-style options in 5,000 square feet of meeting space. The Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites has 44,000 square feet of meeting space including 21 meeting rooms with a capacity of 1,000 people, 850 for a banquet, or 544 in classrooms. Holiday Inn West has six meeting rooms including a 400-seat ballroom for receptions.

The County Center Building furnishes five meeting rooms that can accommodate 2,000 banquet-style; the largest exhibit space is 20,000 square feet. The James W. Miller Auditorium, on Western Michigan University's campus, has two meeting rooms that support 3,485 meeting-style or classroom-style. The Wings Stadium Complex has three meeting rooms that seats 8,032 in the stadium, 2,850 in "The Annex," and 250 in "The Cube." The largest exhibit space is 17,000 square feet and seats 5,113 arena-style.

Dr. William E. Upjohn's former home, Brook Lodge, provides 12,000 square feet of meeting space on an exquisite 637-acre estate. The Yarrow Golf & Conference Center has 12 meeting rooms for up to 300 guests with an 18-hole championship course as the backdrop.

Convention Information: Kalamazoo County Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Chamber Building, 346 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3783; telephone (269)381-4003; toll-free (800)530-9192

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Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo: Introduction
Kalamazoo: Geography and Climate
Kalamazoo: History
Kalamazoo: Population Profile
Kalamazoo: Municipal Government
Kalamazoo: Economy
Kalamazoo: Education and Research
Kalamazoo: Health Care
Kalamazoo: Recreation
Kalamazoo: Convention Facilities
Kalamazoo: Transportation
Kalamazoo: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1829 (incorporated, 1883)

Head Official: Mayor Robert B. Jones (since 1998)

City Population

1980: 79,722

1990: 80,277

2000: 77,145

2003 estimate: 75,312

Percent change, 19902000: -3.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 271st

U.S. rank in 1990: 322nd

U.S. rank in 2000: 390th

Metropolitan Area Population (MSA)

1980: 279,192 (SMSA)

1990: 429,453 (MSA)

2000: 452,851 (MSA)

Percent change, 19902000: 5.4%

U.S. rank in 1990: 82nd (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 91st (MSA)

Area: 25.18 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 700 to 1,000 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 24.7° F; July, 72.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 36.4 inches of rain, 70 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Services, manufacturing, trade, government

Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $16,897 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 6,315

Major Colleges and Universities: Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, Davenport University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Daily Newspaper: Kalamazoo Gazette

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Kalamazoo: Geography and Climate

Kalamazoo: Geography and Climate

Kalamazoo lies on the lower reaches of the Kalamazoo River at its confluence with Portage Creek, 35 miles east of Lake Michigan, 107 miles west of Ann Arbor, and 70 miles west of Lansing. The city also represents the halfway point between Chicago and Detroit. The mucky marshland between the river and the creek once supported vast celery fields; today the fertile soil supports large bedding-plant fields.

Nearby Lake Michigan and the prevailing westerly winds produce a lake effect, which increases cloudiness and snowfall during the fall and winter months. Kalamazoo rarely experiences prolonged periods of hot, humid weather in summer or extreme cold during the winter. Precipitation is generally well distributed throughout the year, and the wettest month is usually June. Average seasonal snowfall is nearly 70 inches annually.

Area: 25.18 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 700 to 1,000 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 24.7° F; July, 72.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 36.4 inches of rain, 70 inches of snow

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Kalamazoo: Transportation

Kalamazoo: Transportation

Approaching the City

Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport is located on Portage Road in Kalamazoo, just south of Interstate 94. The airport serves about 500,000 passengers annually on American Eagle, ComAir, Continental Express, Northwest Airlines, and United Express. Major highways leading to Kalamazoo include Interstate-94 (running east-west) and U.S. highway 131 (running north-south).

With more than 75,000 riders in 2004, Amtrak provides daily rail service including Chicago and Detroit. In 2002 part of Michigan's Detroit-to-Chicago line, the 30-mile stretch between Kalamazoo and Niles, became the nation's first high-speed rail service outside the northeast. B & W Charters and Indian Trails Motorcoach offer bus transportation to other areas of the state and beyond.

Traveling in the City

Local bus service is provided by Kalamazoo Metro Transit, which also operates Metro Van service, a demand-response service for people with disabilities. Two charter bus lines along with several cab services are available.

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Kalamazoo: Health Care

Kalamazoo: Health Care

Kalamazoo is home to three major health care facilities. Borgess Medical Center, with 426 beds, has special units in coronary, cardiac surgery, intensive, and neuro-intensive care and offers a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic facilities. Bronson Methodist Hospital, with 343 beds, is a Level 1 Trauma Center, designated Children's Hospital, and Level 3 Perinatal Center. The hospital has special care units that treat patients for burns and for cardiac and coronary problems. It also offers intensive care, neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care, trauma care, and a hyperbaric unit.

Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital, established in 1859, provides inpatient service for up to 173 adults throughout the southwestern Michigan region.

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Kalamazoo: Municipal Government

Kalamazoo: Municipal Government

Kalamazoo, seat of Kalamazoo County, has a commission/manager form of government. The city commissioners are elected on an at-large basis during odd-numbered calendar years. The mayor is the commissioner who received the largest number of votes at the preceding election, and is responsible for representing the city at ceremonial functions and signing contracts; the city manager transacts the city's daily business affairs.

Head Official: Mayor Robert B, Jones (since 1998; current term expires 2005)

Total Number of City Employees: 915 (2005)

City Information: Mayor's Office, City of Kalamazoo, 241 W. South St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4796; telephone (269)337-8046; fax (269)337-8182; email jonesr@kalamazoocity.com

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Kalamazoo: Introduction

Kalamazoo: Introduction

Kalamazoo, whose name has inspired songs and poems by Carl Sandburg, Glenn Miller, and others, is a small Midwestern town whose several colleges, symphony orchestra, and arts institute lend it a sophistication not usually found in a town its size. The seat of Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo is an industrial and commercial center in a fertile farm area that produces fruit, celery, and peppermint. The addition of a substantial research and development park along with community leaders willing to collaborate to overcome economic challenges has created a positive business climate; the area's 83 lakes offer fantastic tourist appeal especially for water sports enthusiasts.

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Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo (kăl´əməzōō´), city (1990 pop. 80,277), seat of Kalamazoo co., SW Mich., on the Kalamazoo River at its confluence with Portage Creek; inc. 1883. It is an industrial and commercial center in a fertile farm area that produces celery, peppermint, and fruit. Kalamazoo has an important paper industry, along with other manufactures including hydraulic equipment, meat products, furniture, motor vehicle parts, and pharmaceuticals. Kalamazoo is the seat of Western Michigan Univ., Kalamazoo College, and Nazareth College. The city has a natural history museum, an art institute, a planetarium, an aviation museum, and a symphony orchestra.

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