Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive: Sen. Gary Peters tours Kalamazoo River trail, praises waterfront resiliency

KALAMAZOO, MI -- U.S. Senator Gary Peters was in town Monday to look at how Kalamazoo businesses and recreation have taken best advantage of the Kalamazoo  River, action consistent with legislation Peters recently introduced to make it easier for other communities to follow Kalamazoo's lead.

Along with Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Arcadia Ales president and founder Tim Suprise and Toni Thompson, president of Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, Peters spoke of the need to embrace waterways like the Kalamazoo River as valuable assets.

Beginning at the Life Story Building on East North Street, the group walked along the river trail to Arcadia Ales, where Peters, the only Democratic lawmaker among the nation's 13 freshmen senators, spoke of his proposed legislation to support the revitalization of  waterfront communities.

In August,  Peters, a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, announced that he and three of his colleagues had introduced The Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act to help communities attract water-dependent industries and investments that leverage water sustainably, revitalizing neighborhoods and enhancing recreation and tourism.

Peters and his Senate co-sponsors from Wisconsin, Oregon and Maine, believe the legislation will help waterfront communities plan projects, provide tools to implement those plans, and help them attract private and nonprofit investment.

The bill addresses the shift away from waterways as industrial sewers, Peters said, recognizing water's potential for recreation and economic development.

In that regard, Kalamazoo can be a model to other cities in Michigan and around the United States, Peters said. 

By:  Rosemary Parker
Source: Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive