Urban Renewal in Kalamazoo, Michigan: A Case Study
Mernitz, Douglas Frederick, 1946-2009
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In 1957, a comprehensive plan was drawn up for the rede velopment of downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo 19801, as it was called, was a remarkably progressive program which entailed the creation of pedestrian areas in the very heart of the city, a peripheral road around the core, elevated expressways to facilitate travel through Kalamazoo, vast parking areas to acccfflBOdaite the expected future number of private automobiles and generally more productive use of the land in the inner city. The Burdick Mall was, though a roaring success, only a minor part of Kalamazoo 1980. It was intended to be, in fact, one of the finishing touches of the total Plan. The leaders of the governmental, intellectual and business elites were now faced with the awesome task of utilizing the impetus of the mall's success for gaining public acceptance of the more significant— if less sensational—parts of the Plan. The City Manager, Clarence Elliott, said shortly after the mall dedication ceremonies, "We've got a bear by the tail and we won't be able to wait until 1980 to complete the entire program." At the present time, however, realization of even the second step is a remote possibility. Mr. Elliott now expects that the people will be asked to vote on the issue, and he "doubts" that it will pass. It is my intent with this thesis to make a case study of the eight years between the Manager's two statements to discover the reasons behind the stagnation of the downtown renewal program in Kalamazoo. The question can be simply stated. Why, with the general planning completed and with the support of virtually every influential group and individual in the city, do we now reflect over the failure to progress along the lines drawn out by the Plan?If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email firstname.lastname@example.org to request access to this SIP.