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Redeveloping Kingsley

Redeveloping Kingsley

October 12, 2015
Redeveloping Kingsley

A thriving downtown with a well-balanced mix of shopping, dining, housing and commercial development.

It’s a vision many communities have for their core districts – and a vision leaders are hoping to pursue in Kingsley. With the youngest residential demographic in Grand Traverse County, the village boasts a growing number of families, a high-performing school system and public assets including the popular Kingsley Branch Library. But the district’s main commercial corridor is “underperforming,” according to Grand Traverse County Deputy Director of Planning and Development Jean Derenzy – and officials are ready to do something about it.

On November 3, Kingsley will host a “community visioning session” at the Village Hall at 6:30pm. Facilitated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – which is extending free planning support to the village through its Technical Assistance program – the meeting will gather resident feedback on 15 property sites in downtown Kingsley that have been identified for potential redevelopment.

“We will be looking at, what does the community want?” says Derenzy. “Do they want more streetscapes? More sidewalks? What kind of building types would they like to see? How high can buildings go?” Derenzy says the meeting will be an opportunity for the public to “come and give their opinions on what they feel is needed in the community, and how they want the village to look.”

Both the EPA and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have agreed to complete site assessments on all 15 properties, with the DEQ scheduled to conduct on-site samplings in spring 2016. Their reports will be combined with resident input on desired uses for each property to create a village “marketing package” that can be shopped to developers and included in grant and other funding applications.

“Corridors are tough to get new investment in, but it’s easier once you have a vision and a marketing component,” explains Derenzy. “If the study shows we need x number of eateries in Kingsley, for example, we can go out and market that and say, ‘This is what the analysis has said you can do here to be successful.”

The plan could also pave the way for other economic development tools to be utilized in Kingsley’s downtown, such as a tax increment financing (TIF) district or brownfield funding. Last year, Kingsley officials successfully applied for $81,655 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and $21,980 from the Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to demolish the blighted Farmers Cooperative Building on Main Street. The site is now targeted for a future mixed-use development including first-floor commercial and second-floor residential space.

Most of the 15 identified sites could similarly qualify for brownfield funding for environmental clean-up, says Derenzy. While some of the properties are vacant or owned by the village, others are privately held. Some of the community discussion, then, could include identifying property owners who are willing to either sell or make additional investments in their sites and connecting them with the resources to do so, says Derenzy.

The visioning project coincides with other economic development efforts already underway in Kingsley. As part of the Boardman River Prosperity Plan – which identifies environmental and economic opportunities along the watershed – Rotary Charities asked local communities to list their top development needs and priorities. According to Rotary Charities Associate Director Becky Ewing, “in Kingsley, what came out of that conversation was a need to focus on some type of workforce or affordable housing.”

In conjunction with consulting firm Beckett & Raeder, Rotary is now helping Kingsley identify an ideal site for a housing development, as well as “possibilities to leverage state and federal or private foundation funding to make that kind of project happen,” says Ewing. Derenzy notes having multiple planning projects underway offers “some synergy in Kingsley to bring in different partners for redevelopment and economic investment in the community.”

Kingsley Village Manager Jacob VanBoxel hopes the November 3 meeting will attract a “good showing” of residents interested in Kingsley’s future development. “Right now we feel Kingsley has a lot to offer; there is a reason so many of us have put so much time in here,” VanBoxel says. “We have the opportunity for growth, but we need that push that will help get things moving. This is a big step in that direction.”



Jon Becker - Century 21 Northland also lives in the Kingsley area and does a lot of home  & property sales in this area and knows the market well.  2 big plusses to Kingsley area is 1. Great school system for those who have children, and also you get a lot more home for the $$$ than Traverse City and its only a 20-25 minute drive to Traverse City or 25-30 to Cadillac for shopping, employment etc. 

Search all Kingsley and surrounding area real estate listings at www.c21jb.com   and contact Jon anytime if you are thinking of buying or selling.



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