Downtown Kalamazoo’s Central Commons Refreshment Area officially launches Labor Day Weekend
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 4, 2020
Contact: Meghan Behymer | Communications + Marketing Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 269-344-0795
To assist business recovery amid COVID-19, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is excited to announce the official launch of the Central Commons Refreshment Area heading into Labor Day weekend.
Unanimously approved by City Commission and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) in August, the creation of the outdoor social district and Central Commons Refreshment Area allows people to bring drinks purchased from licensed establishments and take them between locations within the commons area.
“With the spring closures, and having had to operate at reduced capacity for several months, this has been a tough year for the hospitality industry. The launch of the Central Commons Refreshment Area gives the community an opportunity to come downtown, support local businesses in a safe, socially distant manner, and adds to the atmosphere and character of downtown” Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership President Andrew Haan said.
As of September 4, 2020, the following establishments have been approved at the local and state levels to serve within the Central Commons Refreshment Area:
- Harvey’s on the Mall (416 S. Burdick St. 5218)
- Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant (200 E. Michigan Avenue)
- Radisson Plaza Hotel (100 W. Michigan Avenue)
- Tempo Vino Winery of Kalamazoo (260 E. Michigan Avenue)
- The Stamped Robin (128 Portage Street)
Several Downtown establishments are currently moving through the permit process, including but not limited to:
- Fuze – kitchen & bar (214 E. Michigan Avenue)
- Green Top Tavern (250 E. Michigan Avenue)
- LFG (116 Portage Street)
- Principle (230 S. Kalamazoo Mall)
- Papa Pete’s/Blue Dolphin (502 S. Burdick)
Downtown Kalamazoo Social District
In July 2020, Public Act 124 of 2020 was signed into law allowing municipalities to designate social districts, and commons areas within those districts, where customers of licensed establishments can be served alcohol to be consumed in the commons area.
The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership and the City of Kalamazoo, with input from downtown businesses, developed a plan for the creation of the social district and commons area as a measure to support businesses struggling from the effects of the pandemic.
In early August, City Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution designating social districts and commons area, as well as establishing a management and maintenance plan. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission approved the plan in late August, and eligible establishments began submitting their applications to be able to participate.
Key components of the approved Downtown Kalamazoo Social District Plan include:
- Boundary: The social district boundary mirrors that of the Kalamazoo Downtown Economic Growth Authority boundary. The commons area boundary within the social district includes the Kalamazoo Mall, Michigan Avenue, Bates Alley, and designated adjacent blocks within that boundary. Additional commons areas can be added at a later date with City Commission approval.
- Hours: Commons Area will operate seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
- Qualified Establishments: The rules approved by City Commission encompass nearly two dozen businesses located within the Commons Area boundary.
- Management and Maintenance Plan: As outlined in PA 124, it is required to develop a plan for management and maintenance of the social district. Within this document is key information on how the social district will be managed, how the commons area will be signed, as well as various expectations of both qualified licensees and the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership. View the plan here.
Per PA 124, establishments are required to serve in plastic cups no larger than 16oz that clearly identify the district, as well as the licensed establishment serving them. The boundaries of the commons area must also be clearly marked.
About Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership
Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is a private, non-profit organization that works with both the public and private sectors in preserving and enhancing the economic health of Kalamazoo’s downtown area and, in turn, the Kalamazoo community. In conjunction with its affiliate organizations, it manages a full range of activities that include capital improvement projects, business development and recruitment programs, image marketing and event planning in order to establish Downtown Kalamazoo as an accessible, diverse, green, progressive and vibrant urban center. For more information, visit downtownkalamazoo.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.