Kentwood, Michigan

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Location of Kentwood within Michigan
Location of Kentwood within Michigan
Coordinates: 42°52′N 85°38′W / 42.867°N 85.633°W / 42.867; -85.633Coordinates: 42°52′N 85°38′W / 42.867°N 85.633°W / 42.867; -85.633
Country United States
State Michigan
County Kent
 • Type Commission
 • Mayor Stephen Kepley
 • Mayor Pro Tem Michael Brown
 • Total 20.95 sq mi (54.26 km2)
 • Land 20.90 sq mi (54.13 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)  0.24%
Elevation 699 ft (213 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 48,707
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 49,694
 • Density 2,330.5/sq mi (899.8/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 49508, 49512, 49546, 49548
Area code(s) 616
FIPS code 26-42820[4]
GNIS feature ID 0629607[5]

Kentwood is a city in Kent County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 48,707 at the 2010 census.


The city was incorporated in 1967 from what remained of Paris Township to prevent further annexation of land from the adjacent cities of Grand Rapids and Wyoming. The city was named after Kent County, which was named after jurist James Kent.

The city's first mayor was Peter M. Lamberts, who served in that post until 1979. Subsequent mayors have included Marvin Hoeflinger (1979–1981), Gerald DeRuiter (1981–1992), Bill Hardiman (1992–2002), Richard Root (2002–2012), Richard Clanton (2012–2013), and Stephen Kepley (2013–present).


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.95 square miles (54.26 km2), of which, 20.90 square miles (54.13 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water.[1] The city is bordered by Wyoming to the west, Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Township to the north, Cascade Township to the east, and Gaines Township to the south.


The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Dfb" (Warm Summer Continental Climate).[6]

Climate data for Kentwood, Michigan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −1
Average low °C (°F) −9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 56
Source: Weatherbase [7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1970 20,310
1980 30,438 49.9%
1990 37,826 24.3%
2000 45,255 19.6%
2010 48,707 7.6%
Est. 2015 51,357 [8] 5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 48,707 people, 19,741 households, and 12,345 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,330.5 inhabitants per square mile (899.8/km2). There were 21,584 housing units at an average density of 1,032.7 per square mile (398.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.1% White, 15.4% African American, 0.4% Native American, 6.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.5% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population.

There were 19,741 households of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.5% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.10.

The median age in the city was 34.3 years. 25.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.8% were from 25 to 44; 24.3% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.

As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $48,335, and the median income for a family was $60,391. The per capita income for the city was $24,261. About 9.8% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.8% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


Kentwood has an Executive Mayor, who also serves as the City Manager, and a legislature consisting of a City Commission. The current mayor is Stephen Kepley, who replaced the retired Mayor Richard Clanton. The Mayor Pro Tempore is selected by the City Commission; Ward 2 Commissioner Michael Brown currently serves in this role. The mayor serves as a voting member of the City Commission and presides over Commission meetings. However, he does not have the power to veto a resolution or ordinance.

Voters in Kentwood elect a mayor, city clerk, and city treasurer to four-year terms, and elect six city commissioners to four-year, staggered terms. Every two years, voters in each of the city's two wards elect one commissioner, while another city commissioner is elected by the city at-large. The most recent election for these offices was held on November 3, 2015. Commissioners Redmond, Coughlin, and Brown all retained their seats.

Municipal Elections of 2015[edit]

In the city's 2015 municipal elections, city commissioners Robert Coughlin (Ward 1),[10] Michael Brown (Ward 2),[11] and Steve Redmond were up for re-election. The consolidated general election took place on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, and the filing deadline for the election was Tuesday, April 21, 2015. On February 2, the City Commission announced that the at-large seat then occupied by Sharon Brinks had been vacated, due to her acceptance of a position as an attorney magistrate in Kentwood District Court.[12][13] The commission had 45 days to fill the vacancy, and the appointee would have to immediately stand for election. On Monday, February 23, the City Commission interviewed 21 applicants for the vacancy, and three finalists were selected (Ed Kape and Steve Redmond, both Kentwood planning commissioners, and Ronald Woods, a retired Kentwood public works director).[14] On Tuesday, March 3, Michigan Department of Transportation planner Steve Redmond was announced as the replacement, was sworn in on March 17, and planned to file for the November election to the full term, to expire in November 2019.[15][16]

William Wenzel, who had been a primary challenger for the Ward 1 seat in the 2013 elections, is challenging Bob Coughlin's reelection.[17] Steve Redmond's at-large seat is being challenged by two applicants for the Brinks vacancy: Thomas Webb, who finished fourth in the 2013 mayoral primary, and Kevin Heine, who finished third in the 2011 Kentwood School Board election.[17] Because there are at least three candidates on the ballot, the at-large commission seat will require a special primary election, to be held on Tuesday, August 4, 2015. In the Primary election August 4, 2015 Thomas Webb Beat Redmond and forced a November 3, 2015 General election to decide who will take the seat which Redmond won.

Municipal Elections of 2013[edit]

In the municipal special primary (held on August 6, 2013), veteran city commissioner Sharon Brinks finished in first place, 16.32% ahead of city engineer Stephen Kepley, in the campaign to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Mayor Clanton.[18] In the campaign to fill the Ward 1 City Commission vacancy, Marine Corps veteran Gerald DeMaagd finished in first place, 4.35% ahead of planning commissioner Steve Redmond.[19] Because neither Brinks nor DeMaagd won their seats outright on primary night (by capturing at least 50% of the votes cast), the top two finishers in each primary proceeded to the consolidated runoff general election in November.[20] Because there were only two candidates in the race, the Ward 2 City Commission race was not on the primary ballot. The City Clerk, City Treasurer, and At-Large City Commissioner seats were uncontested, and therefore would be ratified on the November ballot.

In the municipal consolidated general election characterized by heavy fundraising,[21] Kepley overcame his primary-night deficit to defeat Brinks by 96 votes (2.08% of the total votes cast).[22][23] Vietnam veteran and local Libertarian Erwin Haas defeated incumbent Ward 2 Commissioner Maurice Groce by 68 votes (3.17% of the total votes cast).[22][24] In the closest result of the night, DeMaagd bested Redmond by 21 votes (1.04% of the total votes cast).[22][25] Mayor Clanton had challenged the city's 34,372 registered voters to achieve at least 20% turnout.[26] (Historically, normal turnout for an off-year municipal election is between 7% and 8% in Kentwood.) His target was achieved in precincts 10 and 16, and almost achieved in Precinct 8, though citywide turnout was 13.59%.[27]

Public safety[edit]

Fire service[edit]

The Kentwood Fire Department has been serving the citizens of Kentwood since 1967. Initially a fully volunteer fire department, the KFD is now a combination fire department utilizing firefighters to carry out its objectives. A minimum of eleven career firefighters are on duty at all times, with at least three at each of the city's three strategically located fire stations. Every career member of the department is minimally licensed as an emergency medical technician, while several also hold Paramedic certification. Additional support is provided by a small number of paid-on-call firefighters. These members respond to provide extra manpower at structure fires and other large scale emergencies.

The department is led by Chief Brent Looman. The Kentwood Fire Department is headquartered at 4775 Walma SE, across from Kentwood City Hall. Station 2 is located at 4151 Embassy on the north end, and Station 3 is located at 5340 Eastern on the southwest side.

In 2009, the Kentwood Fire Department responded to 3,956 alarms.

Law enforcement[edit]

Law enforcement services are provided by the Kentwood Police Department. It is the mission of the Kentwood Police Department to assist the community in ensuring the safety, individual rights, and quality of life of all citizens. Currently, the department has seventy sworn officers and is led by Chief Tom Hillen. The Kentwood Police Department's Headquarters is co-located with the 62-B District Court in the Kentwood Justice Center at 4740 Walma SE. The presiding judge of the 62-B District Court is Chief District Judge William G. Kelly.

Major highways[edit]

Further information: Roads and freeways in Michigan

M-11 runs along 28th Street.
M-37 runs along East Beltline Avenue and Broadmoor Avenue to the south.
I-96 links with Muskegon and downtown Grand Rapids to the west and Lansing and Detroit, Michigan to the east.

While not within Kentwood city limits, two other highways both pass within one mile of Kentwood: US-131 in Wyoming and M-6 to the south. Since Kentwood is a suburb of Grand Rapids, many commuters will use one or both of these highways en route to and from work.


The main public school district in Kentwood is the Kentwood Public Schools, consisting of one high school, one freshman campus, three middle schools, ten active elementary schools, and one closed elementary school which has become home to the early childhood programs:

Also included within Kentwood's city limits are the Forest Hills Public Schools and Kelloggsville Public Schools.



Kentwood has five trails:

  • Paul Henry Rail Trail from 44th Street and Kalamazoo to 60th Street and Wing Avenue
  • East-West Trail from Division Avenue to Breton Avenue
  • Plaster Creek Trail
  • M6 Trail
  • Saddleback Trail

With the exception of the M6 Trail, proposals are being considered to expand each of these trails.[when?]


Kentwood is located within the Kent District Library district. The Kentwood Branch Library opened in 2010 on Breton Avenue, next to Kentwood City Hall. The library is located on reclaimed ground from an old landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency and Kent County installed a methane flare to burn excess methane from the decaying landfill in 2015. Previously, the Kentwood Library had been located on Kalamazoo Avenue south of 44th Street.

Kentwood Mine[edit]

The Kentwood Mine is an underground gypsum mine in Kentwood, at 42°53′24″N 85°34′44″W / 42.890°N 85.579°W / 42.890; -85.579 (Kentwood Mine). Opened in 1971 and closed in 2000, it was operated by Georgia-Pacific.[28]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Climate Summary for Kentwood, Michigan
  7. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on June 28, 2013.
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "City of Kentwood 1st Ward Commissioner Robert Coughlin". Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ "City of Kentwood 2nd Ward Commissioner Michael Brown". Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ VandeBunte, Matt (January 15, 2015). "Runner-up in Kentwood mayor race resigns". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved February 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ Austin, Kristin (February 2, 2015). "Kentwood leaders accepting applications for open City Commission seat". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved February 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ VandeBunte, Matt (February 27, 2015). "Decade after bogus emails, school leader who resigned now finalist for city commission". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  15. ^ VandeBunte, Matt (March 4, 2015). "MDOT planner gets nod for Kentwood commission over former school board member". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  16. ^ Austin, Kristin (March 9, 2015). "Newest Kentwood commissioner brings local, state government experience to seat". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b VandeBunte, Matt (April 23, 2015). "4 mayoral races in West Michigan, board incumbents challenged". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  18. ^ "August Special Election, 2013: Detailed results for Mayor City of Kentwood". Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  19. ^ "August Special Election, 2013: Detailed results for Ward 1 City Commissioner City of Kentwood". Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  20. ^ VandeBunte, Matt (August 6, 2013). "Primary election: Sharon Brinks, Stephen Kepley advance in Kentwood mayor race". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  21. ^ VandeBunte, Matt (October 31, 2013). "Will more fundraising turn out more votes for runner-up in Kentwood mayoral primary?". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c VandeBunte, Matt (November 5, 2013). "Kentwood mayor race: Stephen Kepley beats Sharon Brinks". Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ "November 5, 2013 Election: Detailed results for Kentwood Mayor". Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  24. ^ "November 5, 2013 Election: Detailed results for Kentwood Ward 2 City Commissioner". Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  25. ^ "November 5, 2013 Election: Detailed results for Kentwood Ward 1 City Commissioner". Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Mayor's News (Archive)". Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Election Night Results - Kentwood 2013 General" (PDF). Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Kent County Inventory of Underground Mines" (PDF). Wood TV 8. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  29. ^ "Genesis Communications Network". Retrieved 12 April 2014. 

External links[edit]