Spring 2015
Spotlight on...Kentwood


Table of Contents

From the Office of the Mayor

Dear Kentwood Citizens,

Spring means new growth and the perfect opportunity for a fresh outlook. With that said, we want to welcome Steve Redmond as our new City Commissioner-at-Large appointed recently at our City Commission Meeting. Please get to know him!

I had the opportunity to offer my annual State of the City speech to key stakeholders in the City. Many thanks to Kentwood Rotary along with WKTV and their partnerships helping us by working together to make things better! I will share my thoughts from that event.

We are about people at the City and we’ve experienced a great deal of leadership changes due to retirements. The average manager’s age in 2010 was 56. In 2015, the average age is 46. We have planned for this succession and continue to develop our talent through a program we call Kentwood Connect.

We are deep into budget season, efficiencies in our long-term pension plan, compensation packages, and energy savings strategies have potential to save your hard earned tax dollars. LED street lighting as an example, could be in our future if the investment can justify an appropriate return on investment.

Here is a Federal Program that works. The ARCH after school program is a joint partnership with Kentwood Public Schools. ARCH provides additional hours of teaching and needed meals for at-risk students. Results show increased levels of proficiencies in both Math & Reading. We see its successes every day.

Have you heard about my Top 5 fun companies for Kentwood? Dave & Busters and Trader Joes have already announced their Kentwood plans. The other three companies I am pursuing are Chickfil-A, Whole Foods Market, and Cheesecake Factory. Kentwood is also welcoming new industrial businesses providing new jobs for our residents. We are “Open for Business!”

We are exploring the establishment of the Kentwood Community Foundation. Over 30 leaders in both the private and public sector have been asked to serve in an advisory council to identify the needs of Kentwood and co-create future grantmaking priorities for the Foundation’s growth.

The first year of the Kentwood Farmers Market is coming this summer! On Saturday mornings in front of the Kentwood Library, we will have vendors providing their produce and products to shoppers. Keep an eye out for our Kentwood Summer Concert Series as well!

Proposal 1 is a statewide ballot issue before voters this May. The condition of our roads and their care at current funding levels is a major problem. It takes money and leadership to manage and maintain Michigan Roads. We have not had either in the last 25 years.

The State has estimated that 1.2 billion in additional funds annually are needed to properly fund roads. Of the 53 billion dollar state budget, less than 10 billion is available for discretionary spending. It is clear that there is not 1.2 billion in the remaining 10 to solve our long term problem.

Please remember to vote on May 5th!

Blessings to you, your family, and your business!

Mayor Kepley


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Your City Elected Officials


Stephen Kepley
Steve Redmond
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
William Kelly
62-B District Court Judge


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

New and Exciting! We are thrilled to welcome the weekly Kentwood Farmers Market in the library parking lot beginning Saturday, June 13 from 9 AM -1 PM.

Play! Grow! Read!

Reading together remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers. We are thrilled to present 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten (1KB4K) at all 18 KDL branches! Visit the 1KB4K webpage to learn more. Check out these benefits of reading to your child.

Summer Reading Club starts June 8. All ages can participate with programs, prizes and incentives for reading over the summer. Our annual Kentwoodpalooza teen festival of music and the arts happens on Wednesday, June 17 followed by the first of the City Summer Concerts in the Amphitheater. Come and check out teen bands during the festival and local favorite Indie band, Big Dudee Roo at 7:30 PM.

Your library card connects you with an amazing variety of materials and services many of which may be accessed remotely. Kent District Library (KDL) is dedicated to connecting people to the services they need and value wherever they are. As part of KDL, the Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch Library is your nearby resource for these services. Please call or visit the library at any time to find out more.

Call 784-2007 for more information on library events and services.
Cheryl Cammenga
Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch Manager

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

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Kentwood Farmer's Market

The Kentwood Farmers Market is open for business this summer, starting Saturday June 13, 2015! The Market will be located at the Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branch of the Kent District Library, 4950 Breton Avenue SE. The market will feature fresh  roduce, specialty foods, breads, plants, and crafts, as well as family fun activities and entertainment. Vendors include Hope Farms, Country Harvest Greenhouse, Aquari-Yum Farms, Diemer’s Winter Gardens, The Great Harvest Bread Company, Real Food Farm, Adventures of Barb and Tammy, the Great Bread Company, and more!

The Farmers Market offers fresh produce directly from nearby farms and is a great place to meet the growers, get new recipes and mingle with your neighbors. The Farmers Market hours of operation are from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, every Saturday, rain or shine. Buy local from farmers in our community! Contact Denise Dawson at (616) 656-5323 if you have any questions regarding the market, or how you can get involved.

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Division Avenue Reconstruction

Division Avenue is scheduled to be reconstructed from 60th Street to 54th Street starting in late April and running through approximately the end of July. One lane of traffic will be maintained in both directions during construction, but travel delays should be expected near the construction zone. The road is being widened to provide a center turn lane through the entire project resulting in improved safety, bike lanes are being added, and sidewalk constructed on the west side to complement the existing sidewalk on the east side of the road. Access to business will remain open during the duration of the project. The City looks forward to the improvement of this corridor and is confident residents will be happy with the final product.

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Spotlight Spring News

Metro High School Police Academy

High school students who are interested in law enforcement as a career are invited to apply for the Metro High School Police Academy. This program provides students with a sampling of the training found at police recruit training schools. It is hosted by the Kentwood, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Walker, Wyoming Police Departments and the Kent County Sheriff Department. Officers from each Department will be the instructors and mentors for the students during the 48 hours of training. Classes will be held at multiple locations throughout the area. Interested students are encouraged to contact Kentwood Police Community Officer Jeff Augustyn at (616) 656-6564 for more information and an application. Application deadline is Thursday, April 30, 2015.

Code Enforcement’s Top Five Code Violations

With the snow melting, the underlying trash is being exposed. The Code Enforcement Unit will soon be dealing with this as well as these top five code violations:

1) Weeds/grass or undergrowth more than six (6) inches high;
2) Parking violations on non-paved surfaces or on the front lawn;
3) Improper storage of RV/equipment-campers, boats, utility trailers, etc. (These items cannot be stored within the front yard area of the residence and should be stored in the side yard or back yard.);
4) Inoperable/junk/unlicensed vehicles;
5) Garbage/trash.
If you see one of the above violations or any other possible code matter, please contact Mike Leedy at (616) 656-6575 or e-mail him at LeedyM@ci.Kentwood.mi.us You can also go to the City’s web page under the “Property Maintenance Complaint Form” and address your concerns there.

Spring and Traffic Safety

It’s that time of year again! With the spring thaw comes motorcycles and bicycles. We aren’t used to seeing them, so let’s not forget we share the road with the two-wheelers as well. Motorcycles and bicycles are easily hidden by other obstacles such as signs and mail boxes. Please look twice before you pull into traffic.

Know Where Criminal Activity is in Your Neighborhood

The City of Kentwood utilizes a free on-line resource to monitor and map out criminal activity in the City. You can also find out if you have any registered sex offenders in your area. Simply go to www.CrimeReports.com. Once you open the web page, enter your mailing zip code. You can also access this site from the Kentwood Police Department website. Navigate to the “Crime Mapping” page and follow the directions. You can adjust the advanced setting and search your own map section or neighborhood, if you prefer. You can even set it up to provide you with “Crime Alerts” for certain crimes that occur in your neighborhood.

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Kentwood Fire Department - Fire Prevention

Numbers Up

The City of Kentwood Fire Department is implementing a “Numbers Up” campaign. The purpose of the “Numbers Up” campaign is to have all homes and business address numbers clearly identified on the exterior of your home or business.

The main concern of everyone is for the safety of the residents of the City of Kentwood. You never know when you may be the next one to call 9-1-1 for an emergency. Be sure your house number is posted and visible from the road so you can be found as quickly as possible, as every minute counts.

In the case of an emergency, such as a fire, the difference in minutes can mean the difference between life and death. Fire fighters are equipped with many tools to help improve their arrival time. One of these tools is a detailed map of their designated response area(s). However, house numbers are imperative for a quick reference. The more camouflaged and hard to find the address numbers are, the longer it will take emergency personnel to arrive at the scene. So you may be wondering, what are some of the requirements for house numbers? How small is too small? What about colors? Here are some of the basic requirements:

• Must be Arabic numerals. Fancy numbers or numbers that are spelled out may be aesthetically pleasing but are very difficult to read from the street.
• Numbers need to be a minimum of four inches high and in a contrasting color to their immediate background. Brass or bronze numbers are difficult to see in the day or nighttime.
• Must be displayed on the front of the dwelling and visible from the street.
• If the dwelling is located more than 90 feet from the front lot line, the number should be displayed on a gate post, fence, mailbox, or other appropriate place that will make it visible from the street from all directions when approaching.
• Cannot be obstructed by shrubs, trees, decorations, etc.

Maintain your house numbers, along with the rest of your home’s exterior:

• Keep your numbers clean. They may not be reflective or contrasting if they are covered in mud.
• Trim back vegetation as needed.
• Don’t let piles of snow obscure the numbers. If this happens, raise the number so this situation does not happen again.

For more information regarding requirements for address numbers, you can refer to the City’s Code of Ordinances, Chapter 22 Article 4 Section 505.1, located on the City of Kentwood’s website.

Open Burning

Once again, it is time to pick up the remnants of the winter that has collected in our yards. We want to remind you that the burning of leaves and yard waste is not permitted in Kentwood. Only recreational fires are permitted as long as they are contained in a certified or listed fireplace intended for outdoor use. The only product that is acceptable to burn are logs.

Please call the City of Kentwood Fire Department with any questions. 616-554-0800.

Our Touch a Truck event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24 at 10am

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Kentwood District Court

The 62B District Court (Kentwood) started a Sobriety Court in March 2015. In this specialty court, repeat drunk drivers are monitored very closely. The purpose is to rehabilitate the offenders and to reduce recidivism. The ultimate goal is to provide safer roads.

In the first phase of the program a participant will appear weekly before either Judge Kelly or the Court’s case manager. In later phases, the participant will appear less frequently. The program for each participant will be 18-24 months. The participants will be eligible for a restricted license with an ignition interlock device after 90 days of successful participation in the program. The Court uses both positive and negative sanctions in order to motivate the offenders to make changes in their lives. The Sobriety Court will supervise offenders from Kentwood, Wyoming, Grandville, Walker, and Kent County District Courts and people who live in Kent County who were arrested in other counties. This court is patterned after the very successful Sobriety Court in the 61st District Court (Grand Rapids). Sobriety Courts statewide and nationwide have proven to be successful in reducing recidivism.

The Court received a grant from the State Court Administrative Office for a Regional DWI Court which will cover almost all of the expenses for the Court. We are expecting to receive grants for the next two years.

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Kentwood Newsletter Archive

12/20/2013 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Winter 2013
4/1/2014 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Spring 2014
7/15/2014 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Summer 2014
11/25/2014 - City of Kentwood Newsletter - Winter 2014
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