Longtime Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell Won't Run Again

Mar 19, 2018

City of Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, right, announced on Monday that he would not seek another term. He has served as mayor since 2007.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Hopewell made the announcement at a Kalamazoo City Commission meeting. The board also addressed zoning issues related to medical marijuana facilities and accepted a $1 million grant from a local donor.

After more than 10 years as the ceremonial head of Kalamazoo city government, Mayor Bobby Hopewell announced on Monday that he will not seek the office during the next election. Hopewell has served as the city’s mayor since 2007.

Hopewell’s tenure began back when the candidate for city commission who won the highest number of votes became the mayor. That changed a few years ago, when the public voted to make mayoral elections separate from commission elections.

Hopewell faced only nominal opposition in 2017.

“As many of you know, 2017 was an interesting year, filled with challenges, losses and new opportunities for me and the city,” Hopewell told the commission Monday night.

“I know that this may come as a bit of a surprise for some folks, but this is not sudden for me, and part of a plan I’ve had for myself for a while,” he added.

Marijuana Ordinances

Like local units of government all over Michigan, the City of Kalamazoo has gone into the weeds to decide how much to accommodate an expanded commercial presence for medical marijuana, as now allowed by the state. On Monday commissioners set a public hearing for April 2 regarding proposed changes to the city’s zoning codes that would affect medical marijuana facilities. The city also approved a previously presented marijuana-related change to the zoning code. The issue is likely to come up again at meetings in the near future.

Grant Expected to Help City Study Solutions to Poverty

The City of Kalamazoo has made it a goal to end generational poverty within the city, but part of the challenge is figuring out which programs will allow it to do that. Now a Kalamazoo native and former college and university administrator has offered $1 million to help make those determinations. On Monday the city accepted a grant from Timothy Light to study successful anti-poverty programs and to crunch data related to Kalamazoo’s own efforts.

Commissioners expressed confidence that the grant would help the city to base its anti-poverty work on a solid foundation.

Light, who served as a provost at both Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University, spoke to the Kalamazoo Rotary Club last year about the problem of poverty within the city.