"Spotlight on Kentwood Michigan" header
November 2020 eNewsletter
Close-up of a fall leaf with a Kentwood trail blurry in the background
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
Kentwood City Hall remains open for essential in-person services during COVID-19, and the Kentwood Activities Center is open to the public for indoor programming with safety precautions in place. Visitors are required to wear a facial covering and practice physical distancing. As always, if you are feeling sick, please stay home.

Residents are encouraged to continue to access City services online at kentwood.us or call or email City staff. Bills may be paid through U.S. mail, electronically using ACH or the drop box or drive-up teller tube located outside City Hall. The drop box can also be used for the return of absentee ballots.

The City continues to partner with health officials to ensure City operations align with their guidance. Updates about our operational changes in response to COVID-19 are available at kentwood.us/COVID.
Election Information - Nov. 3
I voted stickers next to a sign that says Voting Day
The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 for Election Day. The Clerk’s office is doing everything it can to ensure your voting experience is safe and secure, no matter how you participate. As you prepare, here are a few reminders:

  • If you plan to vote at the polls, you are asked to wear a face covering while at your polling location and practice physical distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Election workers will wear personal protective equipment and assist voters with any concerns.
  • If you are voting absentee, you must return your ballot to City Hall by 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can hand-deliver it to the Clerk’s office at Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE, or use the 24-hour drop boxes located outside City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE, and the Kentwood Activities Center, 355 48th St. SE.
  • The polling location for precincts 14 and 18 has been changed from East Paris Church to the Covenant Park clubhouse, 3402 36th St. SE.
  • The ballot includes a few local races: Two candidates are running for Kentwood’s 62-B District Court for a six-year term and five candidates are running for each of the Kentwood Public Schools and Kelloggsville Public Schools boards of education. A sample ballot can be viewed at michigan.gov/vote.

Have a question about the elections? The City Clerk’s office has answers to common election questions here. You also can find comprehensive information on our election webpage: kentwood.us/elections.
Opportunities for Businesses to Use Outdoor Space, Signage Extended into 2021
As COVID-19 continues to impact our community, the City of Kentwood will maintain reduced regulations and its expedited review processes to support local businesses through October next year. This includes the waiving of certain business license fees, suspension of temporary sign display time limits and the opportunity for businesses to have outdoor space accommodations. More information, including the application for temporary outdoor business expansion, can be found on our website.
City of Kentwood Adopts 2020 Master Plan
Part of the Kentwood Master Plan Update cover page featuring various zoning maps.
We are pleased to celebrate the completion of the Master Plan update process. Following planning and community engagement efforts spanning more than three years, the City of Kentwood has adopted an updated Master Plan that serves as the City’s long-range vision for growth, land use, development and open space conservation. Significant time and valuable engagement with residents, businesses and property owners has led to this plan’s adoption. We are grateful to all those who shared input and contributed to this critical review process. You can learn more by visiting our website.
Brush & Leaf Drop-Off Sites Open Through Dec. 6
Road closure sign with road signs adhered that show leaves go to the right and brush goes to the left.
The City of Kentwood’s brush and leaf drop-off sites have returned to the Kentwood Department of Public Works, 5068 Breton Ave. SE, to help residents with their fall yard maintenance needs.

The sites are open noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 6. Accepted materials include brush, sticks, tree limbs, logs, loose leaves and grass clippings. Visit our website for more information.
Fall Fling Disc Golf Tournament - Nov. 14
Disc golfer dressed for cool weather throws golf disc toward the basket at Old Farm Park.
Community disc golfers of all skill levels are invited to join in the annual Fall Fling, a doubles disc golf tournament and food drive set for Saturday, Nov. 14 at Old Farm Park, 2350 Embro Drive SE. Registration is $40 plus one donation of a canned food item per team. Food donations will go to Kentwood’s Little Free Pantry. Those who participate are asked to follow COVID-19 precautionary measures, including wearing a facial covering and keeping 6 feet of distance from others whenever possible. Learn more and register at kentwood.us/fallflingdiscgolf.
Kentwood Holiday Giving Programs
A pine tree adorned with hats and gloves at the Kentwood Activities Center.
Kentwood’s annual holiday giving programs return this month to spread joy and light during what continues to be an especially difficult year. If you’re able to join our efforts to make the holidays brighter for community members in need, please note the following programs will run Monday, Nov. 16 through Wednesday Dec. 16 at the Kentwood Activities Center, or KAC.

Be a Santa to a Senior
In partnership with Home Instead Senior Care, Kentwood Parks and Recreation again will host Be a Santa to a Senior. To participate, select a tag from the Senior Santa Tree starting on Nov. 16, purchase the item(s) listed on the tag, wrap the gift, tape the tag to the outside and return it to the KAC by Dec. 16. You also can select a tag by phone at 616.656.5270 or order a gift online through beasantatoasenior.com to be delivered. Please visit our website and social media platforms for more information closer to the start date.

Holiday Hat and Mitten Tree
Help adorn the Holiday Hat and Mitten Tree with new or very gently used hats, scarves, mittens, coats, boots, snow pants, socks and blankets. These warm-clothing donations will be distributed to individuals in our school systems and surrounding community organizations who are in need of support.

Kentwood’s Little Free Pantry
We’re always accepting donations for Kentwood’s Little Free Pantry at the KAC during business hours. We also have collection bins available for organizations that want to place them at their facilities. For more information, including a list of suggested donations, visit kentwood.us/littlefreepantry.

The KAC is at 355 48th St. SE and is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Thank you for your generosity and continued participation in these programs! Find more information on our website.
Cultivating Neighborhoods and Small-Scale Development on Division Avenue - Nov. 19
Division United logo
Do you want to learn more about how you can become a small real estate developer for a project in your neighborhood along South Division Avenue? Are you an advocate or local leader looking to encourage better buildings in your community? Join us for a free virtual event hosted by Division United, a joint project of The Rapid and the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming to help guide new investments along the Silver Line bus route on Division Avenue. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, there will be a two-hour virtual presentation and Q&A. Registration is required.
Winter is Coming, so Shake Your Mailbox!
Each fall, residents are reminded to shake their mailbox to see if it’s winter ready. If your mailbox moves when you give it a shake, it likely needs maintenance to withstand the winter season and snow removal efforts. Tighten screws and ensure your mailbox post and receptacle are secure enough to endure large amounts of thrown heavy snow. Check out Kent County Road Commission’s video to know what to look for when deciding whether your mailbox is in need of repair or replacement.
Help Prevent Crimes of Opportunity
Kentwood Police Department theft prevention graphic with text that reads: "Lock Your Car, Take Your Keys, Hide Your Belongings."
As the temperatures begin to drop, the Kentwood Police Department is reminding residents to not leave vehicles running while unattended. Warming up a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied while running creates an opportunity for thieves to steal your car.

Additional tips to protect your vehicles and valuables include:

  • Lock the doors to your vehicle at all times
  • Remove your key fob and secure it inside, out of range from your vehicle
  • Keep valuables out of sight or place them in a locked trunk
  • Remove all electronics from your vehicle
  • Park in a well-lit area
  • Close your garage at night

Remember: If you see something, say something. It is best to report suspicious activity and crimes while they are happening by calling 911. To report crimes after the fact, residents may call the Kentwood Police Department’s non-emergency line at 616.698.6580 or file an online report.
On-Street Parking Rules – Nov. 15
With winter on the way, please keep in mind that on-street parking rules go into effect this month. From Nov. 15 to March 15, parking on any public streets will be prohibited between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. or at any other times when on-street parking could impede winter operations.
Snow Removal Reminders
Kentwood City Hall in winter. The nearby American and Michigan flags are flying in the wind. Snow covers the ground.
When the snow starts to fly, we often receive questions about the clearing of sidewalks and streets. Please note: The City of Kentwood’s Department of Public Works prioritizes winter operations from highest volume streets, such as 44th Street, 52nd Street and Kalamazoo Avenue, to lowest volume roads, such as cul-de-sacs. We make every attempt to have all the roads cleared within 24 hours after the snow event has ended. Property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of homes and businesses. For more information about our winter maintenance efforts, visit our website.
Tackling Invasive Species in Kentwood Parks
Mayor Kepley holds a large bittersweet vine cutting from Northeast Park.
Pictured above: Mayor Kepley with an oriental bittersweet vine cutting.
Thank you to all who joined us last month to learn how we can protect and improve the tree canopy in our community. Throughout the volunteer trainings and workday, it was discovered that we have oriental bittersweet, a very aggressive invasive vine, in at least two of our parks.

It will take many hands and ongoing efforts to keep these vines and other invasive species at bay. We will continue to seek the community’s help and guidance from the Kent Conservation District Invasive Species Strike Team to support healthy trees in our community.

You can read about recent volunteer efforts here. Please stay tuned for future opportunities to get involved.
Operation P.R.I.C.E. During the Holiday Shopping Season
A group of brown, red and white holiday-themed paper presents/shopping bags.
The Kentwood Police Department again has partnered with more than 70 local stores through Operation P.R.I.C.E. – Preventing Retail Theft through Initiative, Collaboration and Enforcement. The educational program was created in 2014 by the Kentwood Police Department to curb retail theft along the 28th Street corridor during the busy holiday shopping season. Police and local retailers work together to discourage shoplifting and to educate employees and store owners on ways to reduce theft. The program aims to create a positive and safe shopping experience for those who live, work and visit our city. For more information, visit our website.
Kent District Library - Kentwood
(Richard L. Root) Branch
KDL winter
The Kent District Library recently expanded branch visits and public computer access time to two hours. Branches have returned to their normal published hours with the exception of Sundays, when all branches remain closed. Curbside pickup is offered during open hours. Programs continue to be conducted online. Please visit kdl.org/coronavirus for more information.
Holiday Closures - Nov. 11, 26 and 27
Please be aware our offices will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 11 for Veterans Day and Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving. Please note: The brush and leaf drop-off sites will also be closed on these days.
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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