Kalamazoo City Commission approves business support measure to create a downtown social district
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Contact: Meghan Behymer | Communications + Marketing Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 269-344-0795
At the Monday, August 3 City Commission meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to create an outdoor social district in Kalamazoo that includes a commons area, where customers will be allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages from adjacent, licensed establishments and shop, sit outside, or walk around, as long as they remain within the commons area.
“This is an opportunity to support businesses during a time when indoor capacities are limited and many people are most comfortable being outdoors,” Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership President Andrew Haan said. “The creation of a commons area gives us the opportunity to marry the need to help businesses keep doors open and the community’s desire to have more outdoor, socially-distant activities.”
Public Act 124 of 2020 was signed into law in July, allowing municipalities to designate social districts and commons areas within those districts, where customers of licenses establishments can be served alcohol and carry throughout the commons area.
Per PA 124, establishments will be required to serve in plastic cups no larger than 16oz that clearly identify the affiliated district, as well as the licensed establishment serving the beverage. All consumed beverages must be purchased from a licensed establishment within the commons area boundaries, which must be clearly marked with signage.
The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership worked with the City of Kalamazoo and downtown businesses to develop a plan for downtown Kalamazoo and identify a commons area boundary. Key components of the approved plan include:
- Boundary: The Kalamazoo Downtown Economic Growth Authority boundary will be the designated social district. Within the social district, the commons area boundary, where customers may walk with purchased beverages, includes the Kalamazoo Mall, Michigan Avenue, and designated adjacent blocks within that boundary, including Exchange Place Alley from Portage Street to the Kalamazoo Mall and Farmers Alley from Exchange Place Alley to Michigan Avenue. Additional commons areas may be added at a later date, with City Commission approval.
- Hours: Commons area hours 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 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.
With the approval of Kalamazoo City Commissioners, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership will submit the approved plan and business applications to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). Should MLCC grant approval, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership plans to have the social district and commons area operating within ten business days.
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.
###Social District Map and Plan