The Kalamazoo County Land Bank is pleased to undertake the Eastside Gateway Project with the Eastside Neighborhood Association and more than 50 other community partners and stakeholders. The project arose through a community visioning process to create a unique sense of place. It will be seven single-family homes and a community pocket park. The park will include a walkway, art, native plantings while serving as a visible and welcoming entryway into the East Side.
Similar to other successful Land Bank projects, the Eastside Gateway Project will distinguish itself for energy efficiency. The new homes will be 40- to 50-percent more efficient than a typical new home, and even more dramatically so than older homes. To achieve that efficiency, the homes have to be built extremely well with materials and equipment — lighting, heating, cooling, plumbing and insulation — that reduce living costs while making the homes more comfortable. The air quality in these homes is also superior to typical homes. The homes are called “zero-energy ready” because they are ready to be converted, with solar panels, to homes that have virtually no energy maintenance costs.
The first home was a “Fast-Built” project undertaken by the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan on September 13 and 14. A kickoff event was scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12 at the site, 1502 E. Michigan Avenue to celebrate!
More information, including how to donate to this project, is available at the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, 1523 Riverview Drive, Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49004, by calling 269-762-6191 or emailing Kelly.Clarke@kalamazoolandbank.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will the project fit into the overall development of the Eastside Neighborhood?
The project’s pocket park will include a labyrinth and art elements that tell the stories generated from the Eastside Voices project, a neighborhood storytelling project being facilitated by the Eastside Neighborhood Association, the Kalamazoo County Land Bank, Buddy Hannah and Sid Ellis in cooperation with the Greater Kalamazoo Arts Council and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.
How was this property assembled?
The parcels represent abandoned or underutilized parcels that have come into the Land Bank’s inventory over the past eight years. Several parcels had houses on them, but they have all been demolished over the last 50 years. Two of the homes were demolished in the ‘70s. In 2017, more than 100 Eastside residents and community stakeholders participated in a series of sessions to create the vision for the project.
How much will the homes cost?
The initial homes will be priced at about $127,000. This translates into approximately $850 in rent with a traditional down payment. Corporate, foundation and individual supporters will be help underwrite the project’s infrastructure and site preparation and construction costs above the sales price. Some incentives and special financing programs are available for eligible individuals and families who wish to purchase these homes. Home-ownership opportunities will exist for individuals and families with a variety of incomes. The property will be designed and built to serve households roughly between 60 and to 120 percent of median income and is anticipated to include a partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
How does this project advance the Land Bank’s mission?
A highly visible, quality development with unique features not only provides opportunities for individuals and families, but also makes an important statement to the larger neighborhood regarding community life. In the same way that blight can beget blight, progress can be both contagious and inspiring. Property values improve. Neighborhood activity becomes more social. Quality of life is enhanced. Neighborhoods stabilize. Studies demonstrate that vacancy and abandonment are linked to property value declines. Studies also demonstrate that low- to moderate-income households typically have most if not all of their assets in their homes. When home values decline, low- to moderate-income households are more vulnerable to crime, drug-abuse and intergenerational poverty. The Land Bank is committed to reversing these negative trends with a spirit of renewal.