WMU News

Downtown development advocate offers Keystone lecture

Feb. 18, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Downtown development efforts to recruit new businesses, design inviting new public spaces and fill existing historic buildings with new restaurants, retail space and contemporary living quarters will be the focus of a Friday, Feb. 27, lecture at Western Michigan University by Kalamazoo's downtown development guru.

The growth of the city's central district and "The Evolution of Downtown Development in Kalamazoo, Mich.," will be the topic when Ken Nacci of Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. takes the podium at 7:30 a.m. in Room 2150 of Schneider Hall. Nacci, president since 1998 of the private, non-profit organization that works to promote the city's downtown district, will speak as part of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series at WMU's Haworth College of Business.

A 23-year veteran in the area of urban planning and development, Nacci is credited with leading DKI's aggressive efforts to recruit new development, improve infrastructure and promote innovative partnerships that benefit the downtown. After years of stagnation and retail losses, more entrepreneurs today are turning to downtown Kalamazoo to expand, locate or revitalize businesses. Office space, living quarters, eateries, entertainment and stores are among the district's areas of growth and redevelopment.

Nacci is a 1977 alumnus of WMU who went on to earn a master's degree in community development from Michigan State University in 1981. Prior to becoming the president of DKI, he was vice president of DKI from 1994 to 1998, and he managed the development of the $120 million Arcadia Creek project. Before that, he worked for the cities of Kalamazoo and Jackson.

The Keystone series, now in its third year, is sponsored by the Kalamazoo-based Keystone Community Bank. The presentations offer community members, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and other guests an opportunity to discuss important business issues.

This year's breakfast meetings have drawn leaders from around West Michigan to examine the triumphs and challenges of succeeding in this area. Speakers also share their strategies for doing well despite the tough economy.

The free event is open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (269) 387-5050. Parking is available in the nearby Fetzer Center lot.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

WMU News
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Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
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