Alcoholic beverages will be permitted in Bronson Park in Kalamazoo
KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Town Commission has said it is encouraging the expansion of the area where drinking is permitted outside of downtown, to include Bronson Park.
Commissioners voted on Monday, December 21 to approve the measure, which will allow people to drink alcohol using specific cups filled with alcoholic beverages purchased from businesses included in the approved zone. The change will take effect in 10 days on New Year’s Eve.
Commissioner Jeanne Hess asked if the change would make a difference for businesses.
Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership chairman Andrew Haan said he found it beneficial to allow drinking and walking in a designated area, and that there had been no increase in problems garbage or whatever.
“We have heard very good things from our retailers,” Haan said. These stores benefit from all traffic in the city center, he said.
The designated drinking area has a set of rules, such as requiring people to buy their drinks from a licensed company.
A resident called to complain about the measure, saying people face different levels of enforcement based on how they look.
Commissioner Chris Praedel stressed that this was a step to help companies keep their employees. There is no free alcohol, he says.
Restaurants and breweries have been hit by restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As the first vaccines are distributed in Kalamazoo, restaurants are holding out and awaiting relief from the economic turmoil that has accompanied the virus. The effort to allow drinking and walking in part of the city center is one of the actions the city has taken to help businesses.
The city also donated millions to Centraide to support business loan and grant programs.