FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2018
Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership Transforms Bates Alley with the help of the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Community
Kalamazoo, MI— Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership and the City of Kalamazoo will celebrate the grand opening of Bates Alley on Friday, Oct. 5, during Downtown Kalamazoo’s October Art Hop.
The public is invited to join in to light up Bates Alley as the businesses, residents, the City of Kalamazoo, and the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, plug in the overhead bistro lighting to signal the alleyway’s completion. Festivities, including live music by Alex Mendenall, will be held along the backside of businesses on the 200 block of East Michigan Ave. between 5 and 8 p.m. The lighting ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m.
“We are thrilled to unveil the transformation of this space from an underutilized alleyway to an inviting, pedestrian-friendly public space. This is the exactly the kind of public space activation that is needed in Downtown Kalamazoo, and we believe Bates Alley will be an asset to the neighboring businesses and to the Downtown as a whole,” said Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership President Andrew Haan.
A year ago, a crowd-funding effort, matched by an investment from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), began in an effort to turn Bates Alley from a little-known, underinvested alley to a pedestrian promenade, complete with outdoor seating for the bars and restaurants along the block, festive bistro lighting strung over the alley and a street mural designed and painted by local artist Patrick Hershberger.
“Bates Alley has been an effort led and funded by the community. Without the generosity of numerous local donors, and the vision and partnership of multiple organizations, this project could not have happened.” Haan said. “It is an exciting time for Bates Alley and for Downtown Kalamazoo.”
Funding for this project was made possible by major commitments and in-kind support from the City of Kalamazoo, the Jim Gilmore Jr. Foundation, the Foundation for Excellence, nearby property owners and the Public Spaces, Community Places Program created by MEDC.
“Being able to bring Bates Alley to life through the partnership of individuals, local entities and state organizations is an example of successful collaboration for positive impact. We are especially excited to be able to host a project like this in Downtown Kalamazoo,” Mayor Bobby Hopewell said.
About Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership
Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is a private, non-profit organization that works with both the public and private sectors in preserving and enhancing the economic health of Kalamazoo’s downtown area and, in turn, the Kalamazoo community. In conjunction with its affiliate organizations, it manages a full range of activities that include capital improvement projects, business development and recruitment programs, image marketing and event planning in order to establish Downtown Kalamazoo as an accessible, diverse, green, progressive and vibrant urban center. For more information, visit downtownkalamazoo.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.