Kalamazoo’s largest park has a bright future ahead of it. And city leaders want your help to determine what that looks like. Also: It’s almost summer and that means higher energy prices during peak times. And Kalamazoo County’s highways are getting prepped for sunflowers.
For those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
High 88°/Low 63° Sunny
Kalamazoo’s largest park has a bright future ahead of it and city leaders want your help to determine what that looks like. Also: It’s almost summer and that means higher energy prices during peak times. And Kalamazoo County’s highways are getting prepped for sunflowers.
One upon a time, Kalamazoo’s largest park was home to a zoo housing a variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Much has changed at Milham Park since then; the zoo shut down in the 1970s; new playgrounds have been built; old dams have been removed. City leaders are trying to figure out what’s next for the park and they’re asking residents for input.
“As we create a master plan, we want to know what you’d like to see in any future improvements,” reads a city news release. City planners will be on hand at Milham Park on Thursday to hear what residents have to say. The event will be open house-style from 4 to 7pm. Whether you want them to bring back the zoo or have ideas for something even more outlandish, officials want to hear from you. [MLive]
Time for higher energy costs
Summer is coming and that means it’s time for summer energy rates. Consumers Energy announced that summer energy rates will kick in Thursday and continue until the end of September. The summer rate plan allows the company to charge more for electricity during times when energy usage is highest. Those times will be between 2 and 7pm on weekdays. During those times, costs will be about 1.5 times higher than usual. The company said that encourages customers to shift power usage to times when it isn’t so expensive. [WWMT]
Sunflowers for highways
If you’ve noticed dead vegetation along the median of U.S. 131 near D Avenue, it’s not your imagination. It’s intentional – part of a project to plant pollinator gardens along the freeway. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) plans to plant sunflowers in the median beginning next year. It was supposed to happen this year, but the funding didn’t work out. MDOT also plans to plant sunflowers at the interchange between 131 and Interstate 94.
The project is part of an effort to make state roadways a little more ecologically friendly. Sunflowers are particularly good for pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. Both insects have faced declining populations in recent years and there is a concerted effort to boost their numbers. Asked whether these gardens could lead to more smashed bugs on windshields, MDOT spokesperson Nick Schirripa told WMUK that doesn’t appear to be an issue. “A couple of things that we’ve learned from other studies. … the higher and lower speed roadways have a lower mortality rate … than roads kind of in the mid-speed, say 45-55 mph,” he said. [WMUK]
Ben Jones runs the tech side of things at NowKalamazoo while also compiling the daily newsletter. Jones worked in film production for several years before jumping into broadcast journalism. He claims that he has worked for every radio news department in Kalamazoo (there are more of them than you think). More recently he has delved into website development, working with everything from small, local nonprofits to large, multinational organizations.