East Main Street is a neighborhood connector that links a portion of Kalamazoo Township to downtown Kalamazoo, and serves as the geographic heart of the Eastside neighborhood in Kalamazoo, Michigan. To Eastside neighborhood residents, East Main Street is a relic of a once bustling retail gathering place. Many of the iconic establishments have closed or moved out of the community, and a few of the buildings are deteriorating. While businesses exist along the corridor, boarded up storefronts without windows tell visitors that the area is unsafe and/or closed for business.
In an effort to revitalize the corridor and return the sense of community, pride, and convenience to residents who reside on the Eastside, the Eastside Neighborhood Association, in conjunction with the “Connecting the Dots” Initiative sponsored by the Michigan Local Initiatives Support Corporation, hired Williams & Works to develop a business corridor plan.
The plan process involved extensive participation from residents, businesses, and community organizations. Williams & Works facilitated several stakeholder orientation and community visioning workshops, all aimed at building a community consensus on methods to foster economic development along the corridor.
This resultant plan summarizes key trends and provides an expression of the community’s vision. Additionally, the strategies outlined in the plan support the future redevelopment and improvement of the corridor, and are divided into four general topic areas: business rehabilitation and infill; residential improvements; design enhancements; and personal safety and crime.