Neighborhood Feature - Edison Neighborhood: Generosity Meets Growth0
If you haven’t noticed, we are pretty fond of Kalamazoo. It features that big city feel along with the close-knit relationships that are usually found in much smaller communities. This hybrid vibe could not be possible without the unique neighborhoods that make up our beloved city.
To ensure that our neighborhoods get the attention and respect they deserve, we have launched our Neighborhood Feature series. For our inaugural edition, let’s connect with the Edison Neighborhood Association (ENA) and find out what’s been going on in their neck of the woods.
Established in 1968, the ENA was formed to empower the Edison Neighborhood to maximize the quality of life and sense of community. The group accomplishes this through civic betterment activities such as housing quality, economic development, employment, planning, public safety, and human services. Tammy Taylor, the organization’s Executive Director, is proud to call the area her home.
“With more than 9,000 residents, the Edison Neighborhood is one of Kalamazoo’s largest and most diverse districts,” she shared. “I love living in this neighborhood because the people are so generous. Sometimes it gets a bad rap, but I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Speaking of generosity, the ENA has several community programs that revolve around giving back to its locals.
“On June 8, we will roll out Edison Blossoms,” Taylor revealed. “The ENA will partner with greenhouses across the county and secure about 1,000 flats of vegetable plants and flowers to distribute to our residents. In the past, individuals could come at any time and pick up flats but to maintain best COVID-19 protocols, we are requiring residents to call ahead and schedule an appointment time for pick up this year.
“Another service we deliver is called the Front Porch Project. Five households per block participate and each residence receives $100 to improve the appearance of the front of their home. This is a unique program because it requires neighbors to connect with each other. To sign up for this program, residents can call us and fill out a form.”
The ENA also offers a tool-sharing program and a hot spot program that lets residents anonymously register quality of life issues within the neighborhood.
These community programs are happening alongside several development projects within the Edison Neighborhood.
“One of our biggest focuses for the past couple of years has been the Washington Square shopping area,” Taylor shared. “We have taken ownership of 812 Washington, which is next to our office.
“Our plan is to rehab the two residential units above and two commercial spaces on the ground floor. One of these spaces was a barbershop and we would like to keep it as a barbershop.”
There is certainly a lot for the Edison Neighborhood’s residents to take pride in, but Taylor is most proud about how vocal and connected the people are.
“In 2019, the ENA took 2,704 calls, serviced 1,440 walk-ins, had 3,450 people attend events in our community room, and 581 people attend meetings in our boardroom, totaling 8,175 direct interactions with community members,” she said.
With interaction numbers like that, we can see why Taylor and her neighbors have so much community pride. Kudos to the Eddison Neighborhood Association for their ongoing efforts!