The Eastside neighborhood is located on the east side of Kalamazoo. Eastside is bordered by the Kalamazoo River to the west and the Kalamazoo County border to the east. The Eastside neighborhood is approximately one square mile in size. According to the 2016 American Community Survey 5 year estimates, Eastside has a population of approximately 2,953 with a median age of approximately 25.
The Eastside neighborhood is served by the Kalamazoo Eastside Neighborhood Association (KENA), led by Executive Director, Pat Taylor. According to KENA’s website, the mission of KENA is to “To improve and enhance the physical, social and economic environment of the Eastside section of the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan to the ends that the community may have a more pleasant, attractive, safe and convenient place to live and work; And that the City of Kalamazoo will prosper by having a first-rate community in its Eastside”. For more information about KENA visit https://kalamazooeastsideneighborhood.org/
Eastside is a largely residential neighborhood with two commercial corridors, E. Main and Riverview Dr. A section of the E. Main corridor is also indicated as a neighborhood node in the Master Plan. Eastside is a warm and friendly community with neighbors who wave as you pass by and who are willing to lend a helping hand. Eastside residents gather together at several different events held throughout the year by KENA and Enet including National Night Out and Harvest Fest.
Enet is a group of residents, businesses, and organizations that work together to make Eastside “a great place to live, work, and play” (Enet). Enet was founded in 2011 and meets each month. KENA and Enet work closely together to host events and engage with residents. Enet meets the third Thursday of each month at St. Mary’s Church from 12:30-2:00pm.
Housing on the Eastside consist of mostly single family houses with a few multi-unit buildings as well. According to the Complete Neighborhoods Research completed by a Kalamazoo College Student Group, Eastside has 98% Single Family Houses, 0.3% Duplexes, 1% Multi Family Buildings, and 1% Mixed Use (Commercial/Residential). During neighborhood planning Eastside residents emphasized the importance of preserving the character of the neighborhood’s housing while creating more housing and ownership options. The Kalamazoo County Land Bank is currently working on a small home project in Eastside on Foresman Ave. and E. Michigan Ave. The project was kicked off with a fast build of the first house in September 2018. Check out a time-lapse video of the fast build at https://youtu.be/1lzTGTarC2c This project will also include the installation of a small passive park on the corner of E. Michigan Ave. and Phelps Ave. through a partnership between KENA and the Kalamazoo County Land Bank.
Eastside has a large number of auto related businesses along with a handful of health clinics, convenience stores, childcare locations, banks, and restaurants, as well as a grocery store just outside of the neighborhood’s boundaries. During neighborhood planning in Eastside, input from residents emphasized the desire to redevelop Eastside’s commercial corridors on E. Main and Riverview and to help support small businesses. Actions from the plan include improving lighting and facades on E. Main as well as preparing commercial spaces to be move in ready for small businesses.
The Eastside has two parks located within its boundaries, Rockwell Park and Sherwood Park. Rockwell Park will be getting some improvements which started in August 2018 and are estimated to be completed by the end of the year. The park improvement project at Rockwell Park will include the installation of new playground equipment, benches, swings, picnic tables, an asphalt walking path, and basketball court. Learn more about Rockwell Park Improvements here.
In summer 2018 Sherwood Park got a bit of a spruce up at the Summer Spruce Up event held by Building Blocks and the City of Kalamazoo’s Parks and Recreation Department. At this event volunteers planted flowers, installed a new park sign, spread mulch, raked leaves, and built picnic tables. Learn more about parks in Kalamazoo at https://kzooparks.org/
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