A poll was put out recently from purewow.com that named Kalamazoo as the "#1 Coolest City With Lowest Cost of Living in the United States," and already Kalamazoo residents are calling it out for being way out of touch. Naturally, every news source and page started regurgitating it all over our Facebook feed. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trashing my city because I love living here, but there are some serious things we need to discuss before claiming that some website can hand us a trophy for us to put on our mantle. It's not that the gesture isn't appreciated, but let's take a look at what the people are saying in response...

Who named it that?! Must be the same company that says there are hot local singles in my area looking for love.
How can you report this without any mention of the crime rate , property values, taxes.. compared to other cities. Such a puff piece. All pro's and NOT one single con reported.... must be a utopia....
I live in Kalamazoo and the rent is not low anywhere here. The violence is very bad.
Did the homeless people fill out that survey?
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These are just some of the hundreds of comments I'm seeing on Facebook posts. That last comment hit me hard. Is it cool for the dozens of homeless who are freezing? How are we handling the situation? Some would argue that recent management choices conflict with our need to help solve our homeless problem.

Strong Public Issues With Homeless Management

Recently Mary Balkema was named to be the Housing Director for the Homes For All program, which drew heavy criticism from active voices in our community. Many of them feel she is inept to run a program which is supposed to represent "all" people, and isn't sitting well with a community who has been very vocal the past year for the support and equality for POC and the LGBTQ community.

A Bigger Issue Than Just Kalamazoo Housing

Many people feel that not only is this poll wrong, but it's bigger than just the city of Kalamazoo, as one person pointed out on a Facebook post:

As long as rent is over $350.00 per month there is no low cost of living in America. Cost of Electricity, natural gas, city water and sewer, trash, communication, these high cost of utilities average over $400.00 per month. Then cost of transportation having own vehicle, insurance, mileage, maintenance and repair another $400.00 per month.

What Makes A City A Cool Place To Live

There is clearly a lot of criticism to this poll. It ignores the low income areas that have a high crime rate considering the poor conditions of the neighborhoods and living, all while the city announces they want to build a new stadium in Downtown Kalamazoo. Something we clearly don't need at this point in time. I think what makes a place TRULY cool is somewhere were ALL residents are valued and looked after, and the welfare of all communities within that city holds precedence over entertainment wants. A place where everyone is protected and can comfortably enjoy all the fun things a city has to offer.

The One Big Takeaway From All This

Yes, there are many cool events that take place. There are many cool stores & shops that are unique which need our support. There are TONS of great people and a community that is begging for serious change and help. But it seems just because you have all that, doesn't necessarily mean you can pretend to know what it's like living here by just looking at the quaint shops and events. From the controversial handling of the peaceful BLM demonstrations in 2020, to the collective mindset of those working and living in the city, they clearly don't consider it "low cost."

The people of Kalamazoo who have been crucial members of this community and have watched it change, are very vocal about their unpleasantries regarding the state of the city. I think Kalamazoo is a really cool city, but the people have made it clear we have a lot of work to do if we really want to be the "coolest."

This Is Why The Kalamazoo Monopoly Is A Failure...