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Kalamazoo mayor says donor money helps city reach goals after being “abandoned” by the state

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell
Kalamazoo Public Library
Mayor Bobby Hopewell says before the idea for the partnership, other ways to help Kalamazoo avoid bankruptcy were considered; like a city income tax or selling some city-owned properties.

The city of Kalamazoo just picked up a $500 million windfall.

This week, Kalamazoo city commissioners approved a public-private partnership called the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence. It’s a partnership between the city and two local philanthropist-businessmen: William Parfet and William Johnston.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell said he saw the public-private partnership as the best way forward for his city, which had been staring down financial problems.

"And the state of Michigan, in my opinion, has abandoned cities overall [by] not investing back into our cities ... through state shared revenue," Hopewell said.  

Hopewell said with the money now in hand, the city can start working on improvement projects that will pay off immediately, and in the future – like replacing sidewalks.

“We can take actions now that will be impactful in the long term, and even in the immediate term for our residents.”

Hopewell said the partnership will also cut property taxes, and reduce long-term budget deficits.

Listen to the entire conversation with Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, above.

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