KALAMAZOO, MI — County officials have been approached about an idea to build a coffee shop and/or convenience store on the property of its new courthouse.
County Administrator/Controller Kevin Catlin shared some “very preliminary” information with commissioners at a public meeting this week about a potential partnership.
Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP) has inquired with an idea to help people who have gone through the criminal justice system. To people become contributing members of society again after getting out of prison, the program would offer them jobs at a new shop envisioned for the site.
KPEP is a community corrections provider that already employs former offenders at various facilities in Kalamazoo, including a coffee shop and a diner.
This shop hasn’t been designed or considered by the county board yet, Catlin said. He wanted to bring it up to the board, as there could be more formal talks on the idea in the near future.
“We think it’s a good idea, the courts seem open to it as well,” Catlin said.
Funding would come from savings from the justice facility. Officials hope there would be enough money left over to fund the shop, if it is approved.
“We’ve been forecasting the budget of the project and we’re potentially going to be under budget,” Catlin said.
The store would not open at the same time as the new courthouse, he said. If approved, the shop would likely be built sometime in 2024 or beyond, he said.
The new justice facility is expected to open in October, county officials have said.
The idea is for an approximately 900-square-foot small shop on the north side of the property, Catlin said.
There is a generator on the north part of the property, hidden by a concrete barrier. The store would be in that area to dress it up, he said.
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