Former Mayor Ed Annen Creates A Stir With Facebook Post About Milham Park
It sure seems a weekend Facebook post from former Kalamazoo mayor Ed Annen managed to resonate with a large group of current and former Kalamazoo area residents. Annen posted to the Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook group Saturday with his thoughts on the current state of Milham Park.
This is for Vanished Kalamazoo from an old Mayor. My complaint and my request Complaint: Milham Park now closed for the season looks like a junk yard. My request: it is closed for the season Why? Why not keep it open for the season and plow the drives? If kept in shaped and plowed what a beautiful winter small drive that would be. And light some trees and Christmas decorations etc people would be driving through it every weekend and open up one of the old concession stands and serve hot chocolate cider donuts etc. Can you imagine Vanished Kalamazoo. I and my grandchildren would be there every weekend as would you and yours. So to bend a phrase: "I remember things as they were and dare to make them great again". Does this city government? I close with can you imagine the family joys of driving through a lit Holiday park with cider and donut stands cross country ski trails etc. Why not believe?
The post has garnered almost 1000 likes in just a day and nearly 400 comments.
Surprisingly, the comments stayed mostly civil, with many agreeing with Annen. The City of Kalamazoo's Director of HIstoric Preservation, Sharon Ferraro, though did ask Annen if he had participated in recent city planning efforts.
When Mayor Annen was on the city commission, the city of Kalamazoo had over 1000 employees. Currently the city (is) doing more work with a little over 600 employees. Mayor Annen, did you participate in any of the parks master plan public input sessions? Or the last two year's worth of Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 master plan sessions? Have you checked the parks master plan, or the IK 2025 master plan, both available on the city website? What you are suggesting in (Milham) Park is programming. Events and uses of the park. Your ideas would be welcomed - not automatically implemented - but welcomed at the PRAB meeting.
While, typical of most social media, the conversation did get sidetracked a bit at times, for the most part, the reaction was mostly positive, or at least raised questions that were primarily regarding funding and logistics; how to pay for it, and how to make it happen.
Many Kalamazoo residents have fond memories of Christmas Card Lane on the city's west side, and some of what Annen refers to sound akin to that.
So what's next? The former mayor has obviously touched on something that many feel passionately about. But hitting a "like" button on Facebook doesn't necessarily translate into a successful attraction. Witness what has happened with Arcadia Creek downtown, as just one example. But, it has started a conversation.
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