The Oakwood Neighborhood Plan 2019 was approved for amendment to the Master Plan by the Planning Commission on February 7, 2019 and the Kalamazoo City Commission on March 4, 2019.
The Oakwood Neighborhood Plan is the culmination of feedback from the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 engagement process, an analysis of existing conditions, and almost a year of community engagement. This plan identifies key topics that residents brought forward including Housing, Community, Parks and Sustainability, Connectivity, Youth, Commercial, and Seniors. Some of the top priorities identified in the plan include supporting seniors so they can age in place, creating a safe and accessible pedestrian network, strengthening and growing the Oakwood Neighborhood Association (ONA), and increasing access to green spaces.
To address the goals set forth in the Oakwood Neighborhood Plan, the plan focuses on collaborative actions that neighborhood residents, the Neighborhood Association, the City, and other community partners can implement. This was done to promote collective ownership as well as help move projects forward more quickly. Some of the actions in this plan include changing current zoning to allow for accessory dwelling units, and to encourage walkable development in the commercial node. The plan also calls for building strong relationships within the area to collectively address big goals such as storm water mitigation and stewardship of the natural environment.
Starting in March of 2018, the neighborhood began engaging with citizens to complete the plan. ONA formed a planning committee made up of board members who were also Oakwood residents. The planning committee used a variety of tactics including community meetings, surveys, pop-up engagement, focus groups, and special events. A series of focus groups with partners and service providers was conducted based on major themes in the plan; Connectivity and Parks, Youth and Seniors, Housing, Community and Food Access, and Capacity Building for ONA. At these focus groups, goals of the neighborhood were discussed as well as opportunities to achieve them. Engagement opportunities were promoted in the neighborhood newsletter, through flyers, and online using the Imagine Kalamazoo and the ONA Facebook pages.
The Neighborhood hosted a “trunk or treat” Halloween event where the final plan was made available and residents confirmed that it captured their priorities. The Neighborhood Association also advertised their January 2019 board meeting as a final opportunity to hear about the plan before it was finalized. Both opportunities were advertised in the newsletter, on ONA’s website, and through Next Door.
To kick off implementation of the plan, Oakwood is working on wayfinding signage to the neighborhood center along with other neighborhood amenities.
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