The Downtown of any city or town is one of the most desired areas as that is the center of the town and where a lot of the identity is found. This is often where you can find a lot of that town's history, art, music, food, and more as downtown is often the most exciting part of the city filled with the city's best offerings. Every city or town offers a different kind of downtown experience and each presents its own vibe.

One of the worst parts of any downtown though is parking, whether it be finding a spot or paying for it, it's a complete nightmare. Some downtown areas are a little easier to find a spot than others but others are more expensive than the rest. Either you're going to have an easy time finding one but it's a hefty price or you're going to have a hard time finding a cheaper spot. This town in Southwest Michigan had made parking easier and cheaper but is now considering rolling back on those decisions.

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Last year officials in Kalamazoo, Michigan voted to have several of their downtown parking ramps become free for all users for the first 90 minutes and then an incremental increase that would cap at $10. This gained lots of interest and appreciation from the community as they felt they had somewhere affordable, safe, and reliable to park their cars while enjoying a night downtown. Now, those same city officials are thinking of changing the parking in downtown again.

They are thinking of raising the parking fee in the downtown area to increase the turnover in the area. Some business owners have expressed concern about cars not valuing the 90-minute max for street parking and would like a fee to be imposed to cause parking spot turnover, while other owners are concerned their business would be harmed if fees were to rise.

The City Commissioner of Kalamazoo has proposed an idea that would see the implementation of parking meters on the Kalamazoo Mall and a possible increase in the prices for parking in the parking garages in the downtown area. They have not expressed when this would begin to take place or how much the increase would be.

Things Change: Downtown Kalamazoo 2007-2022

Taking a trip through time, around downtown Kalamazoo. Thanks to Google Street View, see how the landscape has changed in just 15 years

Gallery Credit: Google Street View

Downtown Kalamazoo Districts

18 Stores That Were On The Original Downtown Kalamazoo Mall

The Burdick Street Mall, in downtown Kalamazoo, was the first pedestrian mall constructed in the United States. It was designed by Victor Gruen and Associates of Detroit and local merchants paid the $60,000 bill for construction costs. The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra provided live music for the opening day celebration. The historic mall was removed and reopened to limited automobile traffic in 2000.
Below are photographs of stores that once bustled with shoppers, only a couple of the businesses still remain in their original locations. A few quotes, from the Facebook group, Vanished Kalamazoo, are mixed among the memories.