Peters Tours Kalamazoo’s River’s Edge District

Peters Touts Legislation Supporting Michigan’s Waterfront Communities

KALAMAZOO, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) toured Kalamazoo’s River’s Edge District today to observe revitalization efforts to attract local business development, district development and residents to the area. While there, Peters highlighted the Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act, legislation he has introduced to support community efforts to attract water-dependent industries and investments that leverage water sustainably, revitalize neighborhoods and enhance recreation and tourism. Peters was joined by Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Arcadia Ales President and Founder Tim Suprise, Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail President Toni Thompson, and local business owners and city officials.

“With more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams in Michigan, riverfront communities like Kalamazoo that maximize their local water resources can support small business growth, create new tourism opportunities and expand outdoor recreation,” said Senator Peters. “The success we saw on our tour of Kalamazoo’s River’s Edge District today demonstrates how investing in waterfront development can revitalize our communities and grow Michigan’s economy. The Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act that I have introduced in the Senate will help provide places like Kalamazoo with the tools and resources to fully realize their visions for the future.”

The Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act will help waterfront communities like Kalamazoo plan for their future, provide the tools to implement that plan, and help them attract private and nonprofit investment. This legislation will boost waterfront communities by creating a voluntary Resilient Waterfront Community designation within the U.S. Department of Commerce, a grant program to develop and implement a Resilient Waterfront Community plan, a Resilient Waterfront Communities network, and preferred status in other federal grant and loan programs for Resilient Waterfront Communities.

Many waterfront communities were built around their water resources years ago and are now working to reposition and overcome issues such as limited public access and poor alignment with modern development. Waterfront planning and implementation requires communities to navigate intergovernmental hurdles, work across constituent groups and agencies, and secure financing. Despite the economic returns from revitalization and the payoff that resiliency preparation can provide in the long-term, many communities lack the resources to turn their vision into reality.

“It is great to have Senator Peters here in Kalamazoo to show him around the Northside Neighborhood and the River’s Edge District,” said Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell. “This riverfront area is experiencing an extraordinary revival that makes Kalamazoo a better place to live, work and play for residents and families. The Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act would help waterfront communities like ours continue to attract new businesses, drive tourism and improve outdoor recreation access.”

“The economic renewal happening in the River’s Edge District led Arcadia Ales to open a new brewery, pub and kitchen on a former brownfield site here on the riverfront last year, and it has been a big success,” said Tim Suprise, Founder and President of Arcadia Ales. “The commonsense bill that Senator Peters has introduced to help revitalize waterfront communities would bolster the work we are doing in places like Kalamazoo to make the most of our local water resources and support small business growth.”

“The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail provides great opportunities to hike, bike and run in every direction from the River’s Edge District,” said Toni Thompson, President of the Friends of the Kalamazoo Valley River Trail. “Senator Peters’ bill will help places like Kalamazoo continue to invest in forward-looking public projects that take advantage of waterfront areas to drive economic growth and create more livable, sustainable communities.”

New development in Kalamazoo’s River’s Edge District has transformed a 140-acre industrial and warehousing area in northeast Kalamazoo into a vibrant mix of new buildings and green spaces that is attracting businesses, retail stores, restaurants, new residents and tourists to the riverfront. The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is a key part of this development. When completed, it will encompass 35 miles of multi-purpose trails with Kalamazoo as a regional hub, providing great opportunities for local outdoor recreation.