Hopewell Announces 2017 Bid for Re-Election For Mayor Of The City of Kalamazoo

Dear Friends,

I am proud to formally announce that I am seeking re-election for Mayor of the City of Kalamazoo this fall.

It’s been my honor and privilege to serve on the Kalamazoo City Commission since 2003 and as your Mayor since 2007. Kalamazoo is a place that not only shares my values, it shaped them. A place where — working together with my colleagues in government and with fellow citizens, community leaders, and neighbors — we’ve made important strides toward stabilizing our city financially and creating a cultural bright spot in Southwest Michigan. But there is more to do.

For many years, each budget cycle has come with the familiar obstacles as state and federal dollars continue to shrink. My colleagues and I have worked tirelessly and found creative solutions to these challenges. We balanced our budget while continuing to prioritize safety and quality services for everyone in Kalamazoo. Yet we knew real change was needed. We knew that only strong leadership with a bold vision would ensure our long-term sustainability. This is why it was such an incredible honor to work with City Manager Jim Ritsema to introduce the Foundation for Excellence (FFE) to the City of Kalamazoo last year.

The FFE was created to ensure our city’s viability and financial future by partnering with Kalamazoo’s amazing philanthropic community. The lead donors’ generous support acknowledges the hard work of our city staff and those of us who lead the city. I’m confident that the Foundation will drive positive change in our city for generations.

The Foundation has already helped fund important initiatives. Many of these have been just outside our budget capabilities for several years. They include:

Lowering property taxes. A few short weeks ago, property owners in Kalamazoo saw a reduction in their tax bills from 19 mils to 12 mils – tax relief that is a direct result of the Foundation. Already, citizens have donated over $16,000 to the FFE from their tax savings to ensure its continued impact.

Funding youth enrichment programs this summer:

  • The MyCity Youth Employment Opportunities Program has 350 young people who are serving our community – a three-fold increase over last year.
  • We’ve enhanced and staffed playground programing that serves 265 neighborhood children.
  • All Things Possible, our middle school discovery and experiential learning program, is serving 35 young people at interfaith Homes.
  • We were able to start sidewalk improvements earlier than planned. Work is planned to repair and construct approximately 5,500 feet of sidewalks and 1,000 feet of curbs and gutters.
  • Our lead pipe removal efforts have been enhanced this summer by FFE, which is allowing us to remove 400 lead pipes from our neighborhoods and surrounding community.
  • As part of neighborhood safety and beautification efforts, 625 trees will be trimmed in Kalamazoo.

These projects are over and above the ongoing progress I’m proud to have been part of. But we’ve also made strides to make our city safer before the Foundation became a reality.

  • Road improvements to 33 streets will be completed this year, the highest number of road projects since the 1990s.
  • We are enhancing our street design policies to make them more safe for all users.
  • The City has initiated the Group Violence Intervention Initiative.
  • Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS), in partnership with Life EMS Ambulance, has achieved some of the highest cardiac arrest survival rates in the nation.
  • KDPS has fully implemented body cameras.
  • Community Policing continues to strengthen the department’s ties to our neighborhoods.
  • In the last 2-3 years, 28% of newly hired KDPS officers are from our local community, as a part of our focus on hiring individuals from Kalamazoo County. This local hiring effort is also being duplicated in our Public Services/Works Department.

Also, over the past two years, the City Commission and administrators launched Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, a citywide listening campaign. Imagine Kalamazoo engaged citizens of every age – including our next generation of leaders – as we shape our city’s future together.  The Imagine Kalamazoo Strategic Vision was accepted and passed by myself and the City Commission on July 17th.

With all of this work underway, our new journey has just begun. I am driven and passionate for this work and for Kalamazoo — what I call our “masterpiece in progress.” The next two years are crucial. We have much more work ahead of us to achieve our vision for Kalamazoo. I ask for your support as I seek another two-year term on November 7th as Mayor to continue to lead this work. We’ve been imagining all that Kalamazoo can be. With your help, we can make those dreams come true.

  • Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell

Hopewell first joined the City Commission 2003 and was elected to the office of Vice Mayor in 2005. He has served as the Mayor since 2007. Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell has spent his entire adult career in the service of others in Kalamazoo. From his professional positions in healthcare to his board memberships and civic responsibilities, he has demonstrated leadership and passion for improving the lives of all citizens in Kalamazoo.

Hopewell is currently the President and CEO of Mobile Health Resources. He is a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Siena Heights University, and Western Michigan University.  

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