Riverview Launch is a former tax-foreclosed greenhouse property in Kalamazoo, Michigan along the Kalamazoo River that has been redeveloped for public use. A grand opening was held Sept. 10, 2105.
The Kalamazoo County Land Bank took over the blighted, former Riverside Greenhouses property at 1523 Riverview Drive in Kalamazoo and led a revitalization project, funded by a capital campaign that raised over $1.9 million for renovations and new facilities.
The six-acre property includes office and shared space for the Kalamazoo County Land Bank and Open Roads, as well as a greenhouse for native plant starts and flower growing, native plant restoration completed by the Kalamazoo Nature Center, a historic barn, and environmental features like rain gardens and a native “bee condo.”
On a sunny August day, Kelly Clarke, KCLB executive director, strolled along the six-acre combination park/nature center/office-campus/community center, pointing out the new native plant gardens, the new view of the Kalamazoo River, and the nature that had always been in the area, formerly obscured by a vacant, foreclosed property. “We had a hawk, just hanging out, yesterday. We’ve seen osprey, blue herons….”
Riverside Greenhouses were flower-growers and florists, in business since 1915. They closed their doors at the start of 2012, and the property went into decline. Bicyclists on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, running along the Riverview property, have told Clarke they didn’t feel safe in the area before.