Summer 2014
Spotlight on...Kentwood

Table of Contents

From the Office of the Mayor

Dear Kentwood Citizens,

I trust the summer days have diminished the wintery thoughts of the recent past and you are enjoying the reason most of us love living in Michigan! My family and I are enjoying Sunday drives to our West Coast to walk in the sand and test the water’s temperature. By the way, Lake Michigan is still too cold for full immersion! As you read this issue of the Spotlight, the City of Kentwood is offering many summer events for the whole family which includes the 4th of July celebration and free concerts at the Kentwood Library Courtyard!

The City continues to operate in an efficient manner providing the services needed by our residents. Our road program is underway with the resurfacing of many miles of both local and major roads. The resurfacing of 52nd Street between Eastern & Kalamazoo Avenues will occur later in the construction season, but the watermain work is currently underway. Please see our website for a map listing road construction for 2014. Our City streets will further have more Police enforcement with the reallocation of responsibilities which enables an extra officer to be placed on our streets without increasing the budget. The fire department continues to provide excellent response times and have been active in numerous fire and medical calls. We appreciate what they do!

One of our focuses for 2014 is the Parks & Recreation Department. The City recently received a business plan report that provides a guide to better serve our residents. The plan reports on survey responses from our residents identifying areas that need our attention. Using the business plan, staff is scheduling various implementation aspects of the plan with progressive goals to be implemented in the next several years. Our goal is to provide events, places, and infrastructure that add value to all our lives on a daily basis and to invest in the next generation. More details will be forthcoming.

I encourage all of you to seize the day and take time to literally smell the roses enjoying the outdoors with family, neighbors, and friends! Please be safe in all that you do.

Blessings to you, your family, and business!

Mayor Kepley

[Back to top]


Your City Elected Officials


Stephen Kepley
Sharon Brinks
Robert Coughlin
1st Ward Commissioner
Betsy Artz
Michael Brown
2nd Ward Commissioner
Erwin Haas
2nd Ward Commissioner
Gerald (Jerry) DeMaagd
1st Ward Commissioner
Dan Kasunic
City Clerk
Laurie Sheldon
City Treasurer


[Back to top]

Happenings At The Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch Library - Summer 2014

The Summer Reading Club is in full swing for all ages through August 9. There is still time to sign up for the reading club and attend some great programs at the library. Did you know that leisure reading is one of the biggest ways to prevent learning loss over the long summer break? Last year Kentwood boasted one of the largest number of Summer Reading participants of any of KDL’s 18 branches, with 2,741 adults, teens and kids reading for fun and prizes. Library staff keeps fun and engaging reading-related programs happening all year long! Stop in and pick up a calendar of free programs and classes or check out “Events” at
Library Millage on the ballot August 5
On Tuesday, August 5, 2014, Kent District Library residents will vote on a 1.28 mills ballot proposal to provide funding for KDL for 10 years. Information about how the next millage election will impact our ability to continue to offer valuable services for you is available to you at the library.

Information is also available at

Richard L. Root Kentwood Branch
4950 Breton, SE
Monday –Thursday 9:30-8:00 pm
Friday, Saturday 9:30 -5:00 pm
Sunday, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

[Back to top]

Street Resurfacing and Rehabilitation

The City began its annual street resurfacing program work on June 9th and it will be ongoing through mid-August. Please see the Engineering Department website for a map of the proposed work locations encompassing 36 lane miles of City Streets.

52nd Street from Eastern Avenue to Kalamazoo Avenue will be rehabilitated in September and October this fall. Traffic impacts will be significant during the construction process. Please start planning alternate routes now so you are prepared during the contruction phase. Look for projects updates on the Engineering Department website.

[Back to top]

City of Kentwood - 2014 Summer Concert Series


[Back to top]

Summer is Here!

Summer weather means cookouts, fireworks, campfires and thunderstorms.

Here are a few safety tips to help protect you and your family this summer.

• Keep a bucket of water handy. If an ember floats out of your fire pit, or a log falls down from your bonfire stack and sets nearby foliage, paper, or other flammable materials aflame, you don’t want to be scrambling for a way to put the fire out. Having a bucket of water nearby is a great first response tool to keep a fire under control.

• Supervise all fireworks (if fireworks are legal in your state, of course). Sparklers and pinwheels might seem “low risk,” but the reality is that there aren’t any fireworks out there that are safe enough for kids to use without adult supervision. It’s also important to ensure that no one tries to re-light fireworks that don’t work properly the first time. Dump these in a bucket of water and move on to the next package.

• Inspect the area around your BBQ and campfire. You don’t want to grill or light a campfire anywhere near other flammable materials. This includes deck railings, overhanging branches, dry grass or that pile of dry wood and recycling sitting in the back corner of your yard. If you’re camping, clear out the area immediately around your BBQ or campfire spot to be sure that there’s no scrub or brush nearby that could ignite if a spark lands on it.

• When you’re done with the fun, put out the flames. While it might seem romantic to fall asleep in front of a campfire, you really should dump water and/or sand on those embers before catching some shut-eye. The same goes for BBQs – close your propane valve and the unit’s lid, as well as any vents on a charcoal grill once you’re done. Unsupervised BBQs can easily tip over in the wind. A breeze can pick up and carry coals and embers from that campfire, dropping them where they can ignite dry grass, branches, trees or deck planks.

[Back to top]


Community Services Safety Reminders:

Larceny from vehicles. Please remember to lock your vehicle and keep any and all valuables out of site. A purse or bag left in a vehicle is an open invitation for a criminal.

Larceny from Garages. Remember to keep your garage door closed. A garage door left open overnight is another invitation for a criminal to take advantage of an oversight.
National Night Out takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. Neighborhoods are asked to register their National Night Out events with the City of Kentwood by Monday, July 7. To register, please contact Community Service Officer David Genrich at or at (616) 656-6569. This is an excellent opportunity to connect with your neighbors and show your support for the community.

[Back to top]


Summer = Time for Assessing Field Work

The Michigan State Tax Commission supervises the assessors of each city and township across the eighty three counties of the state. One of their guidelines used in grading assessing programs is the frequency of field visits at each of the properties by assessing personnel. They expect no less than twenty percent of properties be included in the annual data update program.

Kentwood has 18,282 real parcels on the 2014 assessment roll. That means that over 3,600 parcels need to be a part of our annual field work. With the use of the US post office, our city website, and the digital “oblique photography” available on our desk tops the assessor’s office is doing much with few people. Residential neighborhoods in this year’s study have all received at least one notice by mail of the information that is required to verify our data about your property. We give owners the option of responding by postcard, on our website, calling our office, or dropping by during office hours. THANK YOU to all who have already assisted us in meeting our requirements!

If needed or requested, someone will come to measure the outside of your buildings and yard improvements. We welcome comments regarding changes in the condition of any buildings which may impact value. Let us know if we can answer any of your questions. Office hours are 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday. Phone: 554-0723

[Back to top]


Summer Code Enforcement

The Kentwood Police Department enforces city ordinances in an effort to keep the City of Kentwood a great community to be part of for its residents. If one of our code officers observe a violation, they issue property owners and / or tenants a violation notice specifying a date when the property must be brought into compliance. This time frame could be anywhere from immediately to 5 days. A follow up inspection is then conducted and if the property owner is still found to be in violation they are issued a civil infraction citation for the offense, and issued another 24 hour violation notice for immediate compliance. If the violation is not corrected, the City will hire a contractor to correct the violation and all costs will be charged to the property owner, plus any administration fees. For example, an average-sized yard would cost approx. $215 to mow (including the applicable fees).

The following list is the most common issues we observe:

• WEEDS AND GRASS: City ordinance requires property owners to mow grass/weeds that is over 6” in height.

• PARKING: It is a violation to park motor vehicles on the front lawn in any residential area

• RV & EQUIPMENT STORAGE: It is a violation to park or store recreational vehicles, including utility trailers, within the front set back area on the property (ie - anywhere in front of the house).

• TRASH AND GARBAGE: Property owners are required to dispose of trash and garbage inside a garbage container that a tight-fitting lid and cannot be over flowing with trash. Junk, trash, and rubbish is not allowed to accumulate on the property.

[Back to top]



Summer Traffic Bureau:

Motorcycle Awareness

The summer season is motorcycle season. Please be mindful of the motorcycles that will be sharing the road with you. One of them just could be a member of the Kentwood Police Department’s Motorcycle Traffic Unit.

[Back to top]


Kentwood Newsletter Archive

9/10/2013 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Fall 2013
12/20/2013 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Winter 2013
4/1/2014 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Spring 2014
Text size: A A A