"Spotlight on Kentwood Michigan" header
January 2021 eNewsletter
Welcome to the City of Kentwood's monthly eNewsletter. Stay up to date about community news, events and programs happening this month.
City of Kentwood Operations Update
Consistent with the latest Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emergency order, all indoor sports, enrichment programs and group fitness classes offered through the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department remain postponed through Jan. 15. In addition, Kentwood Activities Center business hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday for those who wish to utilize Kentwood’s Little Free Pantry. Face coverings are required for anyone who enters the facility and check-in is required for contact-tracing purposes. For questions regarding Kentwood Parks and Recreation, please call 616.656.5270.

City Hall remains open for essential in-person services. Visitors are required to wear a face covering and practice physical distancing. Residents are strongly encouraged to continue to access City services online at kentwood.us or call or email City staff.

City bill payments may be made through U.S. mail, electronically using ACH or the drop box or drive-up teller tube located outside City Hall. If you must pay in person at City Hall, please have your check prepared prior to arrival or have exact change for cash transactions. Thank you for your partnership in helping to keep our community healthy and safe. To find more information about payment options, click here.

For more information about our operational changes in response to COVID-19, visit kentwood.us/COVID. For the latest information about COVID-19, visit accesskent.com/coronavirus, michigan.gov/coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Kentwood Celebrates Judge Kelly’s 42 Years of Service, Welcomes Judge Sterkenburg
Kelly headshot
After a distinguished law career spanning more than four decades, Judge William G. Kelly of Kentwood’s 62-B District Court has retired. Kelly has served the Kentwood community as the City’s first and only district court judge since 1979. He was re-elected for his seventh and final six-year term in 2014.

“I have been fortunate to have had a great law career,” Kelly said. “I have loved serving this community for so many years and I am grateful for all the opportunities that have helped me become a better judge. We have a great team at 62-B District Court, and I look forward to seeing the court’s future accomplishments and growth.”
Sterkenburg headshot
Last month, we hosted a swearing-in ceremony to welcome new Judge Amanda Sterkenburg to the court and a retirement celebration for Judge Kelly. Thank you to all who joined us virtually to wish them both well in the next chapter of their lives.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in this capacity,” Sterkenburg said. “As 62-B District Court judge, I will remain committed to ensuring well-reasoned sentences, proportionate punishment and fair rulings that reflect the unique circumstances of every matter that comes before me.”

To learn more about Judge Sterkenburg, click here. To read more about Judge Kelly’s career, click here.
Kentwood Police Launches Local Business Showcase Series
The Kentwood Police Department teamed up with Lacks Enterprises, Inc. last month to spread holiday cheer and support local restaurants at a pop-up event. Thanks to a generous $1,000 donation from Lacks to assist local businesses and community members, we were able to surprise a total of more than 40 customers at Al-Bos Eurocafe-Bakery and Daniele’s Pizzeria with free meals.
 
The pop-up event kicked off the police department’s local business showcase series to support Kentwood businesses and create positive experiences with our community during these difficult times. Throughout the series, the department will highlight businesses within Kentwood – both those donating to restaurants to create similar pop-up events and the local businesses supported by the donations. Local businesses interested in participating are encouraged to call Sergeant Tim Wierenga at 616.656.6561.
Kentwood Seeks Donations Needed to Launch a Second Little Free Pantry
Make A Donation to Kentwood's Little Free Pantry
We’re seeking the community’s help to gather supplies needed to launch a second Little Free Pantry, which will be housed at the Kent District Library – Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch.

Kentwood’s Little Free Pantry initiative began in 2017 as a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day community service project to fill an immediate and local need. Thanks to community support, we launched our first Little Free Pantry at the Kentwood Activities Center where it remains available year-round.

Since then, the City of Kentwood has hosted food drives around MLK Day to keep the pantry well-stocked. Canned goods and other non-perishable items collected this month will be used to stock the new pantry. Collection hours and locations are as follows:

  • Kentwood Activities Center, 355 48th St. SE - 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday
  • Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE - 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, 7:30 a.m.-noon Friday
  • Kent District Library – Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Branch, 4950 Breton Ave. SE - Curbside only 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
  • Kentwood Justice Center, 4740 Walma Ave. SE – 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, go to the front door or call 616.698.6580 upon arrival

In addition, we are seeking community partners who are willing to place a Kentwood Little Free Pantry collection bin at their organization or business. Those interested may contact our Parks and Recreation Department at 616.656.5270 or eRecreation@kentwood.us. For more information, including a list of suggested donations, please visit kentwood.us/littlefreepantry.
Learn How to Identify and Control Backyard Non-Native Invasive Species - Jan. 9
Backyard Invasives training graphic
We’re partnering with the Kent Conservation District Invasive Species Strike Team to offer an online training at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9 to help residents learn how to identify and treat invasive species threatening our yards and parks. This includes bittersweet, buckthorn and more. Register for the training here.
String Light and Tree Recycling Available Through Jan. 29
Pine tree pile at the Kentwood Department of Public Works
Our annual tree recycling site is available for residents at the Department of Public Works, 5068 Breton Ave. SE, now through Jan. 29 – except Jan. 18 when our offices are closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Residents may bring holiday trees to the site between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please note: all decorations, lights, wires and other non-natural materials must be removed in advance. A box for string lights is located near the front doors of the Public Works building.
Adult Virtual Fitness Programs
Women practicing dance cardio with drum sticks in hand
Achieve your health and fitness goals with at-home workouts through Kentwood Parks and Recreation’s virtual fitness programs:

  • Zoom: Strength – Full-body workouts for all fitness levels 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays
  • Zoom: Yoga – Yoga to enhance flexibility, balance and strength 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays
  • Zoom: POUND – Cardio jam session inspired by the fun of playing drums 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays

The cost varies by class. Find all the details and sign up online at
Explore Winter Youth Enrichment Programs
Child looking at a tree branch in winter
Our Parks and Recreation Department has a variety of fun winter activities for kids. Some outdoor and virtual programs include:

  • Outdoor Explorers: This program will take place at a different park each week with scavenger hunts and games to learn about nature. Geared toward children in grades 3-6, activities will help participants learn about tree identification, wildlife habitats, invasive species and more.

  • Art Expressions: This creative art class is going virtual! Participants will pick up a supply kit from the Kentwood Activities Center and complete projects together on Zoom. Instructions for the projects will also be included if participants wish to complete the projects on their own time.

  • Family Flashlight Yeti Hunt: Families are invited to bundle up and grab a flashlight to go on a Yeti Hunt at East Paris Nature Park. Clues for finding the Yeti will be hidden along a 1-mile walking path.

To find all the youth program dates/times, costs and more details, visit bit.ly/KentwoodYouthPrograms.
Keep Your Fire Hydrants Clear of Snow
Firefighters shoveling snow aware from a fire hydrant in winter
Seconds count when your house is on fire, and it is critical for firefighters to have easy access to the fire hydrants for water supply. In winter, crews sometimes have to spend precious time shoveling around a fire hydrant before they can put out a fire. A fire hydrant that’s already cleared can make a big difference.

Please help our firefighters put fires out faster this winter by keeping fire hydrants near your home or business clear of snow. We recommend keeping snow and ice at least 3 feet away from hydrants on all sides. The Kentwood Fire Department greatly appreciates the many residents and business owners who have taken the time to help in the past and to those who may assist us this winter in keeping our hydrants clear.
Prevent Frozen Water Pipes
Icicles on a pipe outside
When below-freezing temperatures are sustained over a few days, water pipes and meters close to cold air may freeze. Remember the following tips to help protect your water pipes from damage this winter:

  • Make frequent use of your water supply: When outside temperatures remain below freezing, it's less expensive to run your faucet regularly to break up ice than it is to repair a frozen or burst pipe.
  • Eliminate cold drafts: Tightly close doors and windows to the outside, install storm windows on basement windows and fill cracks in walls and around windows to help eliminate cold drafts.
  • Provide warmth: Open the door to the room where the pipes are located to allow warmth to circulate. You can place a lighted bulb near water pipes to provide warmth, but never use open flames. Another method is to wrap pipes in insulation or heat tape. If your kitchen or bathroom sink is located against an outside wall, insulate the wall.
  • Turn off garden hose connections: It is also recommended to turn off the water to garden hose connections at an inside valve and drain the exposed piping before freezing temperatures set in.

For more information, visit our website.
Snowplow Safety Tips for Residents
It’s well known that Michiganders are not fazed by harsh winter weather. While we’re acclimated to the challenges that accompany snow and ice, it’s always important to practice precautionary actions to allow snowplows to do their job effectively – and to avoid weather-related accidents.

  • If you see a snowplow’s flashing green lights on, slow down.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 100 feet from snowplows at all times to avoid accidents. The plows often back up to clear areas of snow, and just because you can see them does not mean they can see you.
  • Never pass a snowplow. Snowplows are wider than the average vehicle and, even at reduced plowing speeds, light powdery snow coming from the wake of the plow can restrict a driver’s visibility.
  • Parents are encouraged to teach children to play away from the road. The driver of a snowplow may not be able to see a child playing in the snow. 
  • Remember winter on-street parking rules are in effect through March 15. Do not park on the street from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. or any time your vehicle could obstruct plows from removing snow.

For more information on snow plow safety, watch the Kentwood Department of Public Works’ Snow Plow Safety video. To learn about our winter maintenance efforts, visit our website.
Kent District Library Update
KDL winter
Kent District Library branches remain closed to in-person visits but continue to offer curbside pickup services, online programs and expanded online resources. Curbside service is available during normal branch hours so there is no interruption for patrons who check out items. Digital services are available, including free eBooks and eAudiobooks, streaming TV, movie and music as well as digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. Visit kdl.org to explore the options.
Community Resources
If you need help with food, housing, paying bills or other items, please call 211, text your ZIP code to 898211* or search online any time to get connected with resources. Operators offer help in 180+ languages. To explore more resources, please visit kentwood.us/resources.
Are you interested in joining the City of Kentwood team? All current job listings are posted here on our website.
Holiday Closures – Jan. 18
Please be aware our offices and tree recycling site will be closed Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
For more information, please visit our website: www.kentwood.us
4900 Breton Ave. SE Kentwood, MI 49508 | 616.698.9610 | Contact Us

City Hall opens daily at 7:30 a.m. and closes Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.; Tuesdays at 6 p.m.; and Fridays at noon.
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