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KALAMAZOO, Mich.— The Consumers Energy Foundation today announced a $100,000 grant to expand and upgrade the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, part of $500,000 in its first Prosperity Awards designed to strengthen communities across Michigan.
The City of Kalamazoo will use the $100,000 grant to make significant improvements to the popular market that attracts an average of over 4,500 customers weekly from May through November.
“Places like the Kalamazoo Farmers Market make our Michigan communities more vibrant places to live and contribute to the local economy,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We are excited that this Prosperity Award will provide residents with even more reason to visit the farmers market and fulfill a vital need for fresh, locally sourced food in the community.”
The first phase of improvements in 2020 will include renovating existing vendor sheds and a new vendor shed on the market’s west edge, expanded restrooms and the realignment of Bank Street including sidewalk and the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail along the market’s eastern edge. Future phases will include paved parking north and south of the vendor sheds, an indoor event shed with a demonstration kitchen, and a playground.
“The improvements planned for the Kalamazoo Farmers Market will make an already successful market into an even better venue for customers and vendors with improved parking, additional restrooms and updated vendor sheds,” said Sean Fletcher, director of parks and recreation for the City of Kalamazoo.
The Consumers Energy Foundation is contributing $500,000 to Michigan nonprofits through its Prosperity Awards, including a $250,000 grant this month to support housing upgrades and ownership in Flint. Foundation officials announced the $100,000 Kalamazoo grant this morning as community members attended the last farmers market of the season.
The Prosperity Awards are the second of three $500,000 grant allocations this year totaling $1.5 million. Planet Awards winners were announced in April, and applications for People Awards to support job readiness are being reviewed.
The Consumers Energy Foundation is Consumers Energy’s charitable arm. In 2018, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy and its employees and retirees contributed more than $18.5 million to Michigan nonprofits. For more information, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/foundation.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.