Rebirth of Bellevue

The Bellevue Gateway project.

Over the summer, eight KPEP residents dedicated approximately 128 man hours to a community service project within the Bellevue area of the Vine neighborhood.  The project was dubbed “The

Bellevue is located at the foot of East Campus at Western Michigan University and was home to many WMU professors years ago. It is now pre-dominantly student housing. Because of its proximity to campus, homes in this area are in high demand. The landlords are passionate about ensuring that the Bellevue area remains a place where people want to live and feel safe; which is how this project began.

Two houses along Bellevue had been foreclosed on and needed a significant amount of work. The Kalamazoo County Landbank sold the properties to Western Michigan University, and the university tore them down and converted the area to green space. KPEP residents assisted with this process over the course of several days. They dug out a driveway, dug space for a new planter, and shoveled and wheelbarrowed thousands of pounds of river rock and gravel.

Local non-profit, Building Blocks, whose mission is “ organizing residents, one block at a time, to enhance the quality of neighborhood life” was heavily involved in the project.  KPEP Rebecca Woodamen, LISC/AmeriCorps organizer for Building Blocks stated, “Every step of the way KPEP residents were right there helping. The KPEP volunteers were pivitol in the work that was achieved at the Bellevue Gateway project.”

On August 23, 2017, the Vine Neighborhood Association hosted a program and walking tour to show the progress of the Bellevue project.  Kim Cummings, founder of Building Blocks Kalamazoo and a local professor, announced during the program how exciting it was to see the progress of the area, and that nothing could have been completed without the true collaboration of multiple entities, including KPEP.