Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership releases 2020 Annual Report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Contact: Meghan Behymer | Communications + Marketing Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 269-344-0795
The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is proud to announce the release of its 2020 Downtown Kalamazoo Annual Report, detailing the organization’s impact on the downtown community.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly transitioned the team’s focus from overall downtown efforts to targeted COVID response and business recovery efforts. This annual report shines a light on how the organization shifted its priorities to support downtown businesses through challenges brought on by the pandemic and the results of those efforts.
COVID Response Initiatives
The Partnership team launched a series of initiatives in the months following widespread shutdowns and limitations on operations, resulting in the following impacts:
- Established and launched Kalamazoo’s first-ever open container district through the creation of the Downtown Social District and Central Commons Refreshment Area. The district now has almost 20 business participants, has been expanded twice, and had an estimated economic impact of $500K in drink sales over four months in 2020.
- Injected $250K+ directly into downtown businesses through the Gift Card Stimulus Program and Downtown Dollars promotions.
- Collaborated with partners at the City of Kalamazoo to enact the Outdoor Experience Guide, allowing new permissions for businesses to expand outdoor operations into public right-of-way, creating new outdoor dining spaces and retail stations.
- Launched curbside parking stations across the downtown to allow for quick customer pick-up of orders and purchases.
- Partnered with the United Way to provide additional grant funds for downtown businesses to winterize operations, helping to fund winterization effort of six different downtown businesses.
Building on the organization’s COVID response initiatives, the Partnership team undertook robust programming, public space activation, marketing, and promotion efforts.
- The team introduced a new website, increased digital impressions and engagements through online marketing, launched new retail initiatives, and coordinated 138 days of socially distant programs and installations, providing employment opportunities for more than 250 people.
- The outdoor Holiday Market brought hundreds of shoppers and 51 different vendors, 92% of which were women- or minority-owned.
- Amidst Black Lives Matter marches for racial justice in June 2020, the Partnership team collaborated with community partners to organize a group of artists to paint nearly 30 murals on boarded up businesses downtown. The murals brought color, vibrancy, and creative expression to downtown storefronts, offering a platform to voices who have historically been underrepresented in our community and our downtown.
- The Partnership worked in collaboration with the City to install public restrooms downtown, available for use 24/7.
And, despite some of the challenges of 2020, the downtown welcomed 16 new businesses across the central businesses district.
The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership would like to thank its Board and Citizen Coalition members for their creative and thoughtful input, time and commitment; its sponsors, donors, and community partners for their financial support; and the community for their overwhelming support of downtown businesses.
About Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership
Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is a 501(c)3, 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 to establish Downtown Kalamazoo as an accessible, diverse, green, progressive and vibrant urban center. For more info, visit downtownkalamazoo.org, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or find more downtown news on our website.Read the 2020 Annual Report