Task force created to plan Arcadia Creek Festival Place’s future

Arcadia Creek Festival Place 112717_439640

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Once known for its many festivals and events, Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Festival Place is not performing as well as some would like.

That’s one reason a task force has been formed to create a plan for its future.

Rib Fest. The Taste of Kalamazoo. Greek Fest. They all had one thing in common – Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

“What had been a surface parking lot where we did concerts for a number of years was then converted,” said Andrew Haan, president of Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated. “Basically, the same use was kept and it was made into a much nicer place. We have the band shell, a park, the water feature there and it’s been very successful.”

But times are changing. Of the five original festivals that started when Arcadia Creek Festival Place first opened, only one remains.

“The landscape has changed considerably since 2004,” Haan said. “We have multiple new, private venues downtown. Bronson Park has undergone one major renovation with the new band shell and is just about to launch into another one. So, we want to make sure that this is the right use for this space and if it is, that we’re fully leveraging it and bringing as much traffic as we can to help grown downtown business and the economy.”

The 12-member task force will evaluate the location and suggest changes to improve it. The task force will include representatives from public safety, downtown residents, landscape architects, parks, planning and downtown retailers.

“We really want to have a broad group that’s representative of the community,” Haan said. “We’ll also be doing some focus groups with a number of restaurateurs, a number of residents and other groups as well to really make sure we understand how this impacts them both positively and what challenges there might be.”

The first meeting is December 4. Haan wouldn’t speculate what changes may be coming to the site.

“I think that if the use remains the same, there will likely be upgrades,” he said. “There are things that the site doesn’t have that it could use to better accommodate some of these large events. I think you’ll see changes ahead. I don’t to presume what they’ll be yet though.”

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