January 2020 eNewsletter
Welcome to the City of Kentwood's monthly eNewsletter. Stay up to date about community news, events and programs happening this month.
Mayor's Message 
As we look forward to the new year, allow me to first extend gratitude to our community. Strong community participation helped numerous residents in need enjoy a brighter holiday season. Kentwood truly is a Community Effort, and we can’t thank everyone enough for their generosity.

I am delighted to share that m ore than 300 donated cold weather items from the Hat and Mitten Tree were given to families in need at Kentwood Public Schools, Dégagé Ministries, and Goodwill. The Be a Santa to a Senior tree helped to collect 90 gifts for Kentwood seniors. Our Adopt-A-Tree program was successful as well. All 126 tags were taken from the trees we had in City Hall and the Kentwood Activities Center by City staff and community members. The library and all our fire stations served as drop-off locations for Kent County Toys for Tots this year, which distributed thousands of toys to children.

Together, we also kept Kentwood’s Little Free Pantry well-stocked through the holiday season. Collection bins were placed in all City buildings, which helped to gather hundreds of items from staff and residents. I’d also like to share a big thank you to Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church, Mattson Financial, MetroCal Inc., and Railtown Brewing Company for collecting non-perishable items to restock the pantry. Railtown raised an additional $285 during a “Dine for a Difference” event this past fall. Kentwood is fortunate to have such a welcoming and supportive community where neighbors look out for neighbors.

Reflecting on a few year-end numbers, it’s great to see the economy and construction market remain incredibly strong in Kentwood. Permitted construction value in 2019 was nearly $107 million compared to $125 million in 2018. We also ended 2019 with a fantastic annual audit, which reaffirmed the City is in good financial condition. We will continue to be good stewards of your hard-earned tax dollars.

In this new year, we anticipate the completion of our master plan update and hope to become a certified Redevelopment Ready Community by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. We’re also looking forward to sharing details for an Arbor Day event that will help us work toward becoming a Tree City USA.

Lastly, you may be aware this will be a big election year. As we near Nov. 3, I encourage all residents to continue to treat one another with love and respect. Elections may bring change in leadership and policy, but may those changes never distract us from being caring neighbors. 
 
The Kentwood City Commission, boards and staff will continue to work diligently to protect life and property while providing excellent services for all our residents. Together, we make Kentwood a great place to call home. We look forward to Kentwood’s continued success in the new year!

Sincerely,
Mayor Stephen Kepley
City Commission Adopts Resolution in Response to Refugee Executive Order
In response to an executive order on Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement, the Kentwood City Commission recently adopted a resolution in support of the continued resettlement of refugees within City limits. In a heartfelt Commission meeting, numerous community members, many refugees themselves, shared comments in support of the resolution, which City Commission unanimously approved. You can learn more here .
Bryan Litwin Promoted to Deputy Police Chief
Please join us in congratulating Bryan Litwin on his promotion to deputy police chief of the Kentwood Police Department. Previously serving as captain of the Professional Standards Division, Litwin succeeds Richard Roberts, who was appointed to the role of police chief in November. As deputy chief, Litwin is responsible for assisting with the planning, coordination and management of the City’s police, code enforcement and traffic engineering functions and staff. You can read more on our website .
Winter Concert Series Lineup
Mark your calendars: Our winter concert series is set to return on select Thursday nights starting Jan. 16 with  Bello Spark , a trio performing “atmospheric light rock with the honesty of folk, and the grit and emotion of the blues.” We'll also have  Patty Matters Food Truck  on-hand for the first concert. 

In February and March, the series will feature music from  Serita's Black Rose  and  Nicholas James Thomasma . Our winter concerts take place inside the Community Room at the  Kent District Library - Richard L. Root/Kentwood Branch from 6:30 to 8 p.m. For more information on this year’s concert series, please visit: kentwood.us/winterconcerts
String Light and Tree Recycling Available through Jan. 31
If you find yourself with a pine tree as the holidays wind down, consider bringing it to our Public Works facility for recycling. Please note, all decorations, wires, lights, tree bags and other non-natural materials must be removed in advance. Residents can also drop-off old string lights to be recycled in the drop-off box located near the front doors of the DPW building, which is located at 5068 Breton Ave. SE. Both services are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday until Friday, Jan. 31. 
How You Can Help Prevent
Crimes of Opportunity
Did you know that, in the United States, a car is stolen every 43 seconds? As the temperatures drop, the Kentwood Police Department would like to remind residents not to leave their vehicles running while unattended. Warming up a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied while running creates an opportunity for thieves to steal your car. Please do not give crime an opportunity. The warmth is not worth the risk!
Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Library Events
Kent District Library’s Let It Snow  winter reading program will soon be underway. When you read a minimum of six books between Thursday, Jan. 2 and Tuesday, March 31, you will be able to receive a ceramic  Let It Snow  mug.
 
Meet the Sled Dogs : Thursday, Jan. 2 from 2 to 3 p.m.
  • Tun-Dra Kennels owners will talk about sled dogs, mushing equipment and the Iditarod. Families can meet the dogs and watch a demonstration outside, weather permitting.

KDL Open: Family Arcade, Mini Golf and Silent Disco : Friday, Jan. 3 from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Putt-putt your way through the KDL greens, rock out at the Silent disco, then make your way to the arcade room to play Frogger, pinball and more! Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 

Write Michigan: Songwriting 101 : Saturday, Jan. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • West Michigan musicians May Erlewine and Max Lockwood will guide participants through the songwriting process from tapping into inner creativity to getting lyrics on paper and merging with just the right notes. Pre-registration is required.

Ethics Book Club: Resurrection : Wednesday, Jan. 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Join this club for a new season of thoughtful, candid and lively discussion of both fiction and nonfiction. Topics include current affairs, modern culture, the environment, philosophy, social justice, religion and race. This month's selection is Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy.

KDaLe Tour: Broad Leaf Local Beer : Sunday, Jan. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m.
  • KDaLe programs are for adults age 21 and older. In this off-site event, participants will tour Brewery Vivant's second taproom, Broad Leaf Brewery, at 2885 Lake Eastbrook Blvd SE.

KDaLe Homebrew Competition : Entries are due Friday, Jan. 24
  • This will be KDaLe’s fifth annual "Book-Inspired Brewing" home brew contest. The top four brewers will get a chance to brew a scaled-up version of their winning beer with professional brewers at either Gravel Bottom Brewing, Railtown Brewing, Broad Leaf or Pike 51.

For a full list of events, be sure to visit kdl.org .
Community Invited to
Active Shooter Training Event – Jan. 23
The Kentwood Police Department is hosting a free training session that will cover the basics of what individuals can do in an active shooter event. Intended for businesses, employees and residents (18 years and older), the training will be offered from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the Kent District Library - Kentwood (Richard L. Root) Library. 

Instructors will explain practical steps that will help individuals mentally prepare and respond to any active shooter event. Those interested in attending may click here to register. For more information, please visit our website or contact Sergeant VanderVeen at 616.656.6561 or vanderveenr@kentwood.us .  
Sign up for the Valentine’s Dash 5K – Feb. 8
Celebrate Valentine's Day and your love of running at our second Valentine’s Dash 5K Run from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. This race will get you outside to enjoy a combination of trails and roads in Kentwood followed by a fun after-party. Kids and families are welcome. For more information, please go to:   kentwood.us/valentinesdash .
Winter Parking Enforcement Reminder
Please remember that, from Nov. 15 to March 15, no parking of any vehicle is permitted on either side of any City street between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. or at any other times when on-street parking could impair or impede snowplowing, cleaning or maintenance operations.
Kentwood 62-B District Court
Judge Petitions Due April 21
An election will be held on Nov. 3 for the office of District Court Judge for the 62-B District Court for Kentwood. Individuals interested in the position may visit the Kent County Clerk’s Office (300 Monroe Ave. NW) to pick up a candidate packet. Potential candidates must be licensed to practice law in Michigan, a registered voter of the City of Kentwood, and under the age of 70 on Nov. 3, 2020.

Nominating petitions are due to the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections, Richard H. Austin Building, 430 W. Allegan Street (1st Floor), Lansing, MI 48933 by April 21.
Are you looking for a job with the City of Kentwood? All current job listings are posted here on our website.
Kentwood City Offices Closed
Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and Jan. 20
Please be aware our offices will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 for New Year’s, as well as Monday, Jan. 20 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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