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While the city and its parking contractor (ABM) are not aware of this particular instance, ABM has issued tickets to pieces of equipment if they are not in compliance, and are interfering with on- or off-street operations. In some cases, ABM is responding to a complaint from a downtown stakeholder negatively impacted by the location or placement of the equipment.
The city’s income tax can be a concern to businesses. However, it makes up approximately 33 percent of the city’s budget, or about $16 million. For the city to make up that amount of revenue, we would need to eliminate the majority of police and fire services, and/or parks and recreation, and some street programs. We would no longer be able to provide the level of service we do now, and that would also have a negative impact on businesses.
A scavenger hunt for character sculptures downtown sounds like a fun idea. But for right now, you can get your photo with Tony the Tiger at the Welcome Center in downtown Battle Creek.
Home of the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, the Welcome Center has a gift shop with all the essential Kellogg’s memorabilia. Next door is the Cereal History Exhibit. Visitors can learn about the beginning of the cereal industry in Battle Creek – both Kellogg’s and Post – along with some fun artifacts. One of the featured exhibits is glass bottles full of preserved cereal.
The Welcome Center is located at 34 W. Jackson St., Suite 1A. Look for the suite with paintings of giant cereal mascots in the window.
Homelessness is an important issue in our community. The city works closely with a coalition of service providers to address homeless concerns. Much of that work focuses on preparing individuals to be successful in the job market, a key to helping the homeless achieve economic self-sufficiency. There are many good job programs -- such as the Edge program at Goodwill Industries -- in the community. When using U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant dollars, the city is also obligated to give preference to contractors that hire low-income workers in the neighborhoods where the money is spent. These programs and tools can help give the homeless an opportunity to participate in the city’s growth and development. There is an annual count of the homeless, but this population is hard to reach. It is tough, but we want to be a part of the solution and address barriers.
The format for Backyard Burgers and Brewsfest, one of our annual signature festivals downtown, expanded in 2019 to include vendors providing food beyond burgers. The event was a big success as a result, and there has been additional discussion about how to continue growing the food offerings. Such an approach would duplicate the formula used for the Taste of Battle Creek. The Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce organizes this event. We will be sure to pass along this feedback to their team.
-At this time, the Honor Boxes are an obsolete system, and are no longer supported. We are currently looking to implement newer technology in our parking system, which would offer the opportunity to pay by mobile app for daily parking in the lots, beyond the current two hours.
-There are very few pay phones left in Battle Creek. One is at the Toeller Building, the Calhoun County building on East Michigan Avenue. Because a majority of people have cell phones (96 percent, according to a recent Pew Research study, discussed in a recent Battle Creek Enquirer article), many places are replacing pay phones with charging stations. Bronson Battle Creek Hospital has a phone charging station in the Emergency Department, as well as a courtesy phone in Emergency, and in the main lobby. Most locations have phased out pay phones over many years now.
It remains to be seen if Horrocks will stay at their downtown location. They have explored options at the mall, but right now, no deal to move the store is in the works, as there are significant barriers to a mall location. We will continue to work with Horrocks’ ownership to support their downtown presence, while improving the overall downtown business environment. Ultimately, we recognize that the owners will do what they feel is best for their business.
One of the things that frustrates me is seeing an out-of-town company doing work here – tree trimming, electrical work, construction, concrete work, even school pictures. Why does this continue to happen and what do you plan to do in the future to make sure work here is done by local business owners?
What efforts are being led to ensure construction dollars of economic development projects are pushed toward local Battle Creek contractors, to keep those dollars in our community?
What percentage of construction dollars on a project are wages that could create economic development dollars to stay in our local economy?
(Multiple, similar questions are grouped together.)
The City of Battle Creek does not have a local preference ordinance, but we do encourage supporting local businesses on a regular basis, and in our purchasing documents. A recent amendment to the state constitution limits, and in some cases prohibits, local municipalities from passing local preference ordinances.
Where funding source, covenants, and law necessitate, the city follows prevailing wage requirements. City incomes taxes collected are dollars that stay in our local economy for a variety of municipal services, including those that support economic development.
Post Consumer Brands has acquired a segment of Tree House Foods, including the facility in Battle Creek. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is still reviewing that purchase, so the next steps are unknown until that review is complete.
We need a civic theater/movie theater – these would be a reason for people to spend time downtown. A year-round market would also be nice. Marshall has one – why don’t we? South side could use a farmers market. We could also use a “good” sit-down BBQ restaurant. (Full question.)
-It would be great to have an active theater group and movie theater venue downtown. Both have different needs and receive support from different demographics. Movie theaters in general are struggling across the country. The theaters we currently have are working very hard to attract moviegoers. The demand for a downtown theater doesn’t exist today. However, there is a possibility of attracting a boutique move theater at some point in the future, as downtown residential units are developed at high enough density to support a captive downtown audience.
Currently, the What A Do Theater is renovating a space at 200 W. Michigan Ave., and has an office at 2 W. Michigan Ave., Suite 304. Contact information is:
What A Do Theater Co.90 McCamly St. – PO Box 2503Battle Creek, MI 49015
Teri Noaeill, Executive Director/Youth Programming – email@example.comLynda Hensel, Financial Manager/Ticket Reservations – firstname.lastname@example.org
-An independent market association operates the farmers market in downtown Battle Creek. The association currently does not see enough demand for a year-round market, but continues to explore indoor venues and year-round feasibility. Their short-term focus is on growing their current offerings downtown, with an eye toward the future with expanded, and perhaps year-round, programming.
As for the south side, again, the association does not currently see enough demand for a south-side location. There are great facilities downtown to support the market, and their focus is to grow at the current location (Festival Market Square).
-The city’s Small Business Development team is currently working with a prospect interested in establishing a BBQ restaurant downtown. It is early in the development process, but we certainly hope this project will come to fruition.
The mall area is zoned appropriately for medical/recreational marijuana provisioning/retail centers. The city currently has an active application for a medical marijuana facility at the former Don Pablos site. With the required 1,000-foot buffer between facilities, only a small portion of the remaining property (a portion of the former Sears building) is available for medical/recreational marijuana uses.
With the rezoning of Old Lakeview, are district lines being revamped to account for school closures? And with that, are parks in housing areas currently in BC wards going to gain attention for rehab? McCrea has basketball and tennis courts that are currently unusable. Kids literally play ball in the streets on bus routes. What can we do to change this culture? (Full question.)
-The city is working on a new zoning map for the entire city. Most areas will be the same, or similar to what they are zoned now. Most of the changes will be to commercial corridors, and the changes will allow more flexibility for allowable building uses. Most elementary schools were constructed as neighborhood schools, and located in the middle of single-family residential neighborhoods zoned for those single-family homes.
At this time, it is likely that the closed schools will remain in a single-family residential zoning district. While it is unlikely that someone would purchase these buildings for a home, their large size can accommodate myriad uses – multi-family housing, live/work space, artist co-op, retail, coffee shop, baker, light manufacturing, etc. Every school is situated differently, so it is important to have the ability to review a proposal to evaluate neighborhood context, noise, parking, traffic, etc. to make sure that the use would be harmonious with surrounding properties. This also gives the neighborhood the opportunity to weigh in on a proposed use.
-The city budgets a certain amount per year to handle park maintenance. Larger park projects are included in the city’s annual Capital Improvement Plan. Calhoun County is considering a ballot proposal for a countywide parks millage that would create funding for park development and maintenance. Such a millage would allow the city to do much more park maintenance on an annual basis. Regardless of the millage outcome, the city will continue to address as many park maintenance issues as possible, with current budget constraints.
The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau includes culture institutions in its promotions, which can be handy for visitors and locals alike. For instance, next year’s visitors guide will include an itinerary for art lovers, a spotlight on Leila Arboretum, and places to learn local history.
Visit www.battlecreekvisitors.org for the event calendar, and click on “what’s new” to find articles highlighting different cultural institutions. There are articles about a weekend of art events, or touring Color the Creek murals.
Tune in to Tim Collins on WBCK on the first and third Thursday of the month at 7:45 a.m. to hear more from the CVB – they will promote museum events, symphony concerts, art exhibits, and more.
What is the plan for the site of Graphic Packaging?
Will GPI have to do any environmental tests before they leave town, and what is the plan for that area and the old Kmart?
Graphic Packaging’s announcement to invest $600 million into their Kalamazoo facility was announced as a capacity-neutral investment. This project will take multiple years to complete, just to get the new capacity-neutral machine online. GPI has multiple facilities throughout the Midwest, where current capacities could come offline, including at the Battle Creek facility. GPI’s capacity could remain the same two or three years from now, or capacity demands could increase, eliminating or reducing the need to change current production. In any event, if GPI were to close the Battle Creek facility, it most certainly would have to abide by all regulatory and environmental laws. Currently, both the Kmart and GPI sites are held by private entities and, ideally, the community would work with these parties to redevelop the area into one of several possibilities, including the re-naturalization of the Kalamazoo River.
Unfortunately, the building continues to deteriorate. It is not secured from the weather, and remains an area of concern. The city is working with design and engineering professionals to determine the options available to address the situation. Once we have a firm cost of those options, city regulatory and enforcement staff will make a recommendation to leadership on how best to move forward.
A private developer is renovating the property on Riverside. We do not have information on how the bees were handled.
While individuals are not prohibited from taking pictures from the parking structure, for safety reasons, we do not encourage activities other than parking in the ramps.
Can we ever have a Shranks again, and what is going on with that building? I thought I heard there were plumbing issues. What is the city doing with that building? And that Froggy’s Depot on NE Capital? And that blue place on Calhoun? (Full question.)
-The Shranks building was demolished in the summer of 2019. The building was unstable and unsafe for occupancy, as it had a separating exterior wall. Battle Creek Unlimited has been working to market the site for new residential construction.
-Both of the properties on Capital Avenue NE and Calhoun Street are privately owned and available for lease and/or sale. The city’s Small Business Development team has referred several potential businesses to the owners over time. We will continue to look for viable occupants to aid in the redevelopment of these properties.
The city has released zoning ordinance and map (ZOMA) project information on social media, the radio, newspaper, and TV news to keep everyone in the community aware of the status of the project. There will be meetings scheduled in early 2020 to review the draft ordinance and map. Dates and locations will be announced. In the meantime, staff is always available to discuss concerns, issues, and community needs – 269-966-3320 or email@example.com.
The city’s master plan prescribes a future vision for land use patterns in the community. The zoning ordinances prescribe the regulatory requirements governing the proposed land use. The city’s Small Business Development team is mapping the various commercial districts in the city, so we can identify where current districts are physically located, which businesses exist there, and what might be missing. By doing so, we can identify which services are needed in a commercial district to support local neighbors. We can then ensure offerings align with our vision for future land use in the district, and meet regulatory compliance.
Businesses associated with selling marijuana (medical or adult use/recreational) must be 1,000 feet from a school or library, which is state law. They are not restricted from locating near a daycare. The state law concerning liquor licenses maintains setbacks from certain uses, like churches, but there is no local ordinance. If there are activities that seem to be a nuisance, or affect the daycare, please contact the city so we can follow up on those concerns – firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is impossible to list all of the attractions in this space, so we suggest visiting www.battlecreekvisitors.org, or stopping by the Welcome Center at 34 W. Jackson St., Suite 1A, for a visitors guide. The Welcome Center is also a great place to pick up Battle Creek souvenirs, like a Cereal City candle (it smells like Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles) or postcards.
If you are interested in local tourism, we recommend you sign up to be a Certified Tourism Ambassador. It requires taking a half-day class that teaches the history of the Calhoun County, and fun facts, along with places to eat and things to do. To learn more or sign up for the next training session, email email@example.com or visit www.CTANetwork.com.
The Battle Creek area has one incubator kitchen on Dickman Road (Sprout Market, old Springfield market). How will the Tiger Room collaborate with Sprout’s kitchen? Will the Tiger Room provide more options/more accessories than Sprout kitchen? (Full question.)
The Tiger Room is designed to provide an opportunity for companies that have moved beyond the incubation stage. As such, Sprout Market Incubator and the Tiger Room Accelerator will complement each other. The Tiger Room will be another asset for our food-rich town. Early in the grant process, it was required that there be a demonstrated need. Multiple early-stage companies throughout the region have indicated a need for this acceleration space.
The city typically adopts and enforces code established at either the state (State Building Code) or federal (International Property Maintenance Code) level. While it is not likely that the code authors will relax regulations around access and fire suppression, through the newly established Real Estate Improvement Fund, we now have money to address downtown projects. The fund is specifically designed to address rehab costs and can help fill development gaps. Battle Creek Unlimited administers the fund, and you can find more information here: https://bcunlimited.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Final-BCU-Real-Estate-Improvement-Fund-Program-Guidelines-6.27.19.pdf
There are resources available to assist neighbors with property redevelopment. Certain tax abatements, the Real Estate Improvement Fund (https://bcunlimited.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Final-BCU-Real-Estate-Improvement-Fund-Program-Guidelines-6.27.19.pdf), business incentives through the city’s Small Business Development team, loans for small businesses from lenders like Northern Initiatives, and more. We encourage anyone looking to redevelop or rehab a commercial property in the city to contact the SBD team for assistance. They can help determine which, if any, available incentives might apply -- https://www.battlecreekmi.gov/703/Small-Business-Development.
The city is looking at a number of strategies to address the lack of food access in certain areas in our community. We have identified various commercial districts on the Northside, and are working to identify the amenities needed to make the surrounding neighborhoods desirable places to live, work, and play. That strategy includes adding the amenities needed to give neighbors access to all of the services they need within a reasonable walking distance.
As residential units add critical mass to the downtown, we are confident that we can recruit businesses, like grocery stores, to the nearby Northside neighborhoods to meet neighbors’ needs. (Also, do not forget about Horrocks.)
Economic development has required foundation stones for its success. One of those stones is quality education in the entire community. Battle Creek has four school districts fighting each other (school of choice) for a declining student population. Why? Surely we can do better as one than as four. When will government acknowledge the need to do a better job of educational management and structure in our financially challenging environment? (Full question.)
School superintendents work to create a high-quality educational experience in the district they are hired to represent. Conversations about cross-community structure that lead to different tax base configurations are political discussions that should come from community conversations, and be decided by the citizens in each individual district.
The city does not have oversight or provide financial support to schools, so our role is as a partner at the table to support efforts around sound educational management and structure.
We were disappointed to cancel the 2019 Krazy for the Kazoo evnt; it is a wonderful event that supports our river. Once we have a new environmental program coordination (Lizzy – Elizabeth Paul – most recently held this position), we hope to explore our options to engage the community around the environment. In 2019 the City Commission approved the city’s Sustainability Plan -- http://www.battlecreekmi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5685/City-of-Battle-Creek-Environmental-Sustainability-Plan---February-2019?bidId=. The Sustainable BC Committee is working with staff to help implement this plan. The committee meetings are open to the public, and we encourage anyone to join their conversations. You can find their meeting information on the city’s website. The city also has a Tree Advisory Board that guides our tree efforts. Recently, we have removed more trees – based on disease and damage – than we have replaced, and this is an area we are reviewing, and on which we want to improve. The Tree Advisory Board information also is on the city’s website. Visit http://www.battlecreekmi.gov/346/Boards-Committees-Councils for information on both of these groups.
UPDATE, January 2020 -- Bessie Stears is the city’s new environmental program coordinator, and Patty Hoch-Melluish is our new environmental and stormwater manager. Watch for some great environmental engagement this year with our new team!
The city has an excellent relationship with KCC, and that is a topic we can discuss and explore with them. Keep in mind their current location already is in close proximity to downtown.
Has the city considered making/installing the “snow melt system” (heated streets and sidewalks) for the downtown streets and sidewalks to accommodate the seniors, visually impaired, foreigners, folks from hot climates, etc.? Like Kalamazoo and Holland have, and are expanding currently. (Full question.)
The city has not considered a snowmelt system in at least the last five years. We understand that our colleagues in Kalamazoo and Holland have these systems, but they tell us these systems can be costly to install and maintain. At this time, our resources in Battle Creek do not support that. However, we could explore it later, if there is continued interest.
City Commissioners did not have a role in the EEE mosquito spraying in 2019. That was carried out by the State of Michigan, with information passed to us through the Calhoun County Public Health Department. The state did not receive enough individual opt-out requests from neighbors in Calhoun County to halt spraying here. The state has said that spraying is now complete in all of the identified areas of need.
Why haven’t there been more giant developments in Battle Creek? Why are no large skyscrapers being built? They could build skyscrapers downtown, on Beckley Road, by the airport. And more malls in these areas. Much more fun and recreational activities are necessary. Crosswalk, stoplight, and sidewalk work on Capital SW and Beckley are needed. (Full question.)
-Skyscrapers can be a useful development in urban core areas. Currently, developers have not approached us with interest in high-rise developments. Many consider Battle Creek a small town, at 51,500 people, and high-rise developers often are looking for more density of people. Skyscrapers near the Battle Creek Executive Airport would be prohibited, per Federal Aviation Administration regulations; only the air traffic control tower is allowed in this area.
-With the change in trends of how consumers buy goods, the traditional mall designs are becoming obsolete. Walkable spaces and easy access in and out for retail options certainly are things we are looking into.
-The city is always analyzing our sidewalks and non-motorized options. We will continue to add sidewalks as funding allows, with high priorities around schools, neighborhoods, and other gathering places.
-Recreational opportunities are a great offering in any vibrant community. Battle Creek is fortunate to have many beautiful parks (both for humans and dogs), the Linear Park and other trails, Full Blast Recreation Center, softball and baseball fields, and two beautiful rivers. In addition, we are excited for Battle Rock (climbing walls and adventure sports) construction to begin downtown, and to find more ways to access our rivers for recreational purposes.
What are we doing to reach out to the African-American and Potawatomi communities with regard to the river plans? There is a large amount of history to tell regarding that location.
If the channelization of the river is reversed, and that area is turned back to natural flow, how can we restore good faith and have reparations for black and poor people who were originally displaced?
We are doing our best to engage all stakeholders around that, and there are still many conversations we must have. We have to remember that the concrete channels were put in for a reason – so the downtown won’t flood. The Army Corps of Engineers is now telling us that the channels are nearing the end of their life – so what do we do? We have learned there is a potential that widening the river would help. If we do that, there is a possibility we could shift Dickman Road, which travels along the river. These are the conversations we are having.
We need to make sure we understand the expectations of the Battle Creek neighbors impacted in Battle Creek, and understand the history. There is a lot of history there that not all of us have experienced. We are taking the time to understand the history of The Bottoms, and we appreciate the awareness these questions raise about engagement with our community. We do not have the full answer today, but this project will emphasize engagement, and these are important conversations that we will have.
If we are able to remove the concrete channels, and connect neighbors to the river and the downtown, we can create a positive impact going forward.
Why is the city more concerned about downtown than any other part of the city?
Most of the presentation is about downtown. When you are looking for services, most say they are focused on the neighborhoods. When will you put efforts into the neighborhoods?
What we have learned by studying other cities is that they have started by revitalizing their urban core – the downtown, the hub where businesses have flourished. We moved away from that, and now we are coming back to it. We know we can’t stop there. We have to connect the neighborhoods to downtown – that’s where our sub-area plans come in. It’s not that we are not paying attention to the rest of the city – there is a lot going on in many locations – but we know we have to start with the core development. We need all components – more events, and housing options, for example – to move forward on that, and be successful in economic development. In 2020 we will begin conversations with those target sub-areas.
I would like to see small areas in Verona, Lakeview, and Urbandale used. There are so many vacant buildings. Also the McCamly Plaza. That would be awesome to have amenities there again… we need a roller skating rink, in my opinion. Old Kmart would be a sweet skating rink. (Full question.)
-This is what we often refer to as district development. We are going to conduct two studies – on Old Lakeview and Goguac Lake. These are not just throwing ideas out there to see what works, but actually doing the work to change the zoning in these areas, and make changes for new growth so that we can be development ready. We are looking at developing three to five sub-area plans. Some are just a crossroads, some are corridors, and some are as big as Urbandale.
-The McCamly Plaza Hotel continues a conversion to a DoubleTree by Hilton. At the end of 2019, the hotel closed in an effort to better complete that conversion. The conversion includes building out the plaza/atrium area. Most recently, Biggby Coffee has moved into this area.
We have chosen a couple spots where we can start this planning, that are based on modeling the city’s zoning. Those we chose are near centers that have blight and vacant properties. We can model new zoning practices in those areas without getting involved in places that are already constructed. Once we learn which zoning will work best, we can take what we have learned to places like Capital NE, which is headed toward Verona. It will not all look the same. We have to develop the tools in some places, to use them in others in the city.
How can we attract better cuisine, and to have businesses that stay open later? It seems like our town sleeps after 9 p.m.
We’ve lost a lot of nice restaurants over the years. It would be nice to attract a wider variety of restaurants.
Restaurants open a little longer, after 9 p.m. sometimes. The sidewalks roll up too early downtown.
We have seen some great responses to Battle Creek Unlimited’s requests for proposals of various businesses – New Holland Brewing and Handmap Brewing, for example. There are a lot of foodies in our community, and we need them to be more vocal – we need people in the community to visit the businesses we have. The more we do that, the more the community will grow. With New Holland for example, the industry is watching for a high number of visitors. If they can do that, other businesses will follow.
Downtown is a crown jewel, where everyone can feel welcome, and it is also about critical mass. With more residential units in progress, those neighbors will expect businesses to be open at night. All of that together will ultimately create the vitality people are seeking.
This was a reference to Battle Creek Whitewater Inc., a local group advocating for the naturalization of the Kalamazoo River downtown. You can find more about this at www.battlecreekwhitewater.org.
I was curious if the city is aware of the quantity of patients leaving the hospitals in town at all hours, who were utterly reliant on City Cab’s operation. Can it be done, with relative quickness, to implement a night route to the bus lines to accommodate this need?
What can the city do about our community’s transportation issue?
Longer busing, maybe 24-7 busing to the Fort and shopping areas?
Can we attract Uber or Lyft in Battle Creek?
-We are learning more now about the City Cab passenger needs. Battle Creek Transit has tried to respond in a very short time frame to the community’s transportation needs, with City Cab closing. Unfortunately, business costs forced City Cab to make that decision.
Transit does have a new, premium service (BCGo) to try to help. This service runs from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Fare is $5 to $15 per passenger, per one-way ride.
Equal access is important to us, and to the Federal Transit Administration. FTA regulations require that services remain equal to all populations throughout all hours of service. This means that providing overnight, or 24-hour service would require us to serve all areas equally, not only specific routes or districts. Without significant additional funding, Battle Creek Transit is unable to meet those requirements. In addition, Transit is required to provide ADA complimentary paratransit during all hours of fixed-route bus service (our Tele-Transit service). This doubles the hourly operating expense from $125 per vehicle hour to nearly $250. This means Transit would need more than 250 passengers per hour to sustain the services we offer, something unlikely during overnight hours. There is not much revenue from the fare boxes, and to expand, we would need more support. Unfortunately, we are getting less, not more.
There are other transportation service providers in the market, like Aequitas Mobility Services, all of whom are working to meet the community’s transportation needs. Anyone with concerns, or if you’re not sure how to meet your transportation needs, call Battle Creek Transit at 269-966-3474. We have received these types of calls from neighbors, and have been able to solve many of them by sharing the various transportation opportunities available in the community. We also are looking at a county-wide alternative, with our city transit team and other transportation stakeholders. The city probably will not be the only provider to meet mobility needs.
-Private ride-share services – like Uber and Lyft – also can be part of the solution. Lyft is in Battle Creek, and something neighbors can do to help increase the availability of these services is to use them. However, we also have learned that there are insurance and vehicle requirements that can limit these services. We are hopeful these companies will take advantage of the opportunity to have a stronger presence here, and plan to do everything we can to reach out and invite them to do so.
-Battle Creek is a food, automotive supply, and aviation defense community. We have lost some industry, but history tells us those industries are declining. The Fort Custer Industrial Park was created to diversify industry, and it is thriving right now, with over 13,500 employees. There is a healthy base. Companies will come and go, but we are always on the lookout for the next industry. Right now, that is Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones.
Automation also is here, and is going to increase. It will mean higher dollar investments, with lower job numbers, and we have to watch for that.
-The mall is a unique challenge, in that we are not dealing with just filling the space, but a seismic shift around retail sales, nationally, regionally, and locally. At Lakeview Square, the anchors are owned separately, and the mall itself has its own manager. They have to come to a common understanding about what their retail strategy will be, and they have to be realistic. We are in constant contact with the mall stakeholders about that strategy, and they are doing well to attract uses we don’t typically think of in a mall, like entertainment facilities and office space. They are still in the middle of this process, and the mall will have a viable future, but it will not look the same as the traditional retail we are used to.
We have a tremendous IT infrastructure with the Federal Center. Today we have a cyber mission out in Fort Custer. We have tremendous assets to build from. What are the city’s plans for spring-boarding off from either the Federal Center and/or the cyber mission that’s out at Fort Custer? (Full question.)
Through Battle Creek Unlimited, we are engaged with The Roosevelt Group, out of Washington, DC, that has helped us position Battle Creek for those new mission sets. We have fiber in the ground that is unheard of for a city our size. Unmanned Aircraft Systems are basically drones, and they not only fly themselves, but also have a lot of data. Battle Creek can support that. We have assets including the airport, the Air National Guard, and the Federal Center, and that is why we are working to attract UAS. It is a slow, expensive process, but that is what we want to attract.
The city also is hearing various local partners say that they want to open up their facilities, and their expertise around cyber activity and other areas – to invite the community in to learn. We just need to partner with them effectively to get to that point.
Questions about the women and minority business development funds – 1) How many people/businesses have applied for funds, and what is their demographic info (women, white women, people of color, etc.); 2) How many have received funds – who and what are their demographics?; 3) How does the application process overcome barriers produced by systemic racism and systemic misogyny? If it does not address these barriers, how is it of benefit to women and people of color?
If everyone is equal, why single out women and people of color, or minorities?
Via the loans available through BCU in 2019, how many did BCU award, and how many of those did African-American applicants receive?
-We have heard in the city that there are gaps to accessing the capital funds to start businesses. We are working to unravel the red tape that government can create. We talk with people in the community and figure out how we can modify processes to meet their needs and break down barriers. We take our application process to them and ask how they would work through it. We have a host of wonderful partners who are learning with us; we know we can’t do this alone.
Some of the programs we are taking right to the communities, like the Sisters in Business program. We also are holding business training classes. During one, we had a language barrier with a Burmese neighbor; the next round, we got an interpreter to assist. We are holding our programs in intentional ways, and learning as we go. If we see a barrier we were not aware of, we alter the program so we can address it.
The Battle Creek Unlimited Real Estate Improvement Fund, a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has four requirement pools – affordable housing, jobs for low- to moderate-income neighbors, women- and minority-owned businesses, and historic preservation. We have about a dozen applicants, and a majority are from the women- and minority-owned business pool. We are still in the grant-awarding phase, and will continue tracking that data.
-It is important to recognize equity among all individuals. Unfortunately, not all individuals have always been treated equally. There have been demonstrated systematic and institutional practices, such as redlining, that have limited the access of women- and minority-owned businesses to the resources and opportunities afforded to others. We have designed our efforts to generate equitable results by leveling the playing field for those who have been under-served in the past. There is plenty of opportunity for all in our community, and we strive to ensure that women- and minority-owned businesses have access to those opportunities.
-There are two BCU loan funds. From the Direct Investment Fund Loans, BCU has a total of six active loans, with two additional commitments. Of the active loans, three are designated minority or woman recipients; of those three, one is an African-American recipient. Of the two additional commitments, one is a designated minority or woman recipient. In 2019, BCU committed to three loans. Two were minority/women recipients, and none were African-American. BCU received two inquiries by potential applicants who are African-American, but they did not apply.
From the Real Estate Improvement Fund, BCU awarded four grants. Three of those were minority/women recipients, and none were African-American. BCU received one inquiry by a potential applicant who is African-American, but they did not apply.
Thriving cities seem to have sporting events in their downtowns. Have we thought about relocating Bailey Park to the downtown area? Also, what’s happening with old Kmart building?
Any plans to get entertainment at Kellogg Arena to draw people downtown?
-Sports tourism is a great asset in our community, and Bailey Park attracts many visitors we would like to have in the downtown. We do not currently have a site in the core downtown large enough to house the three stadiums, two quads, and practice field at Bailey. There are areas around downtown that might accommodate a relocation, but they would require quite a bit of redevelopment. Our focus is to continue programming at Bailey, while giving visitors a compelling reason to visit downtown while they are here. We believe we can accomplish this with the current downtown offerings, and the many exciting developments – like the Battle Rock climbing gym – that are in the works.
We have a vacant Kmart facility, and are looking at redevelopment opportunities. However, the city does not own the property right now, so we are considering the potential options. We hope it will become a mixed-use development area, in its great location near the river.
-We are considering how we think about Kellogg Arena, which already draws a significant number of visitors downtown with its event programming. It is a wonderful asset in our downtown that brings a lot of athletic tournament events, including wrestling, gymnastics, and dance competitions. The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau recently released a study about the impact of sports in the county, noting over 54 events held in 2018, bringing almost 100 million visitors to Calhoun County. The arena also hosts banquets, convention activities, and private corporate events.
As a downtown biz owner, one of the top complaints I hear is about parking – not how much, but the allocation, and the parking tickets. Can we clarify that, add better signage, and increase the two-hour limit? (Full question.)
We recognize that, as the downtown becomes more vibrant, parking is a critical issue we must address, ensuring that downtown employees and visitors alike have a place to park. It is a learning process and a challenge.
We have a pilot project coming, in which visitors can use a mobile app to extend their parking time. We are looking to try this on Michigan Avenue, at Riverwalk Centre, and in the State Street parking lot. Visitors would receive two hours free, and have the ability to pay for extended time.
We also are also working on improvements to our parking structures. We have plans for improvements to our existing structures, and to add another when we can afford it. Stay tuned for more information on all of these changes.
We had commercial air service, and it went to Kalamazoo. Will we ever have it again?
What about UPS and FedEx operations?
There are no plans currently for passenger service at the Battle Creek Executive Airport at Kellogg Field. Our services are based on flight traffic, and the fact that we have a lot of students, via the Western Michigan University College of Aviation; it is difficult and expensive to add commercial/passenger travel. However, as one of the busiest airports for general aviation, we can take on services like that of large military aircraft.
FedEx recently made a large announcement about service in Portage, but we continue to market Battle Creek’s airport. Duncan Aviation’s work helps with this, as well as WMU’s current expansion, expected to double the number of students here.
Moving goods back and forth – typically by truck. The Fort Custer Industrial Park also has a foreign trade zone, which involves moving goods internationally, and is another way that Battle Creek is attractive to business.
A lack of labor participation means that we have people who, for a variety of reasons, are not engaged in the workforce. They might be disabled, or so discouraged that they are not looking for work. Other barriers might be that they don’t have transportation, or child care.
Number of employees. Federally, the definition of a small business is one that has fewer than 500 employees. For us, we tend to think 50 employees or fewer. A lot of businesses have two to 10 employees; some might call those micro-businesses.
That is one of the biggest challenges. We try to go where the people are. We hope you will be ambassadors, and take this information to other groups and organizations with which you serve, or share it with anyone you think may benefit from the information.
The Community Health Needs Assessment is factual and points out food deserts, but the state allows liquor stores to be considered grocery stores. Are you basing neighborhood needs on state regulations? It’s not about making a neighborhood attractive, it’s about when it’s 20 degrees outside, and you can’t get to places because you don’t have a car. (Full question.)
These are great points. We are not taking the state definition, and are trying to map our commercial areas, evaluate the services there, and determine what needs to be in the neighborhood. We cannot provide all the needs, but the conversations have to happen in the neighborhoods. We always enforce health and safety concerns – we have to.
Some of those are the Battle Creek VA Medical Center for veterans, Summit Pointe, and Haven of Rest Ministries for the homeless.
Are there incentives to hire local people? I know of one business that brought people from the south to work, because there were barriers to hiring local, like transportation.
Are there any community benefit agreements in the community, so that Battle Creek residents are hired first?
If we offer incentives, they are tied to job creation, and not necessarily to location.
We don’t currently know of any community benefit agreements, but we are gathering more information, and checking with Battle Creek businesses.
This project will take place on Roosevelt Avenue East, from Garrison Avenue to Goodale Avenue East. The Calhoun Area Career Center is to the north, and Spring Lake and Kellogg Community College are to the south of Roosevelt in this area.
This section of Roosevelt is classified as a minor arterial road, meaning drivers typically use it for shorter trips, and it connects to busier areas and roads. The City of Battle Creek maintains this road. Currently, there are two vehicle lanes in each direction.
The city's Non-Motorized Transportation Plan (2006 version; an update now is in progress) includes a short-term project to add bike lanes on Roosevelt. This requires the vehicle lane reduction to make space for the bike lanes. We are not sure why this project was not completed in 2010, the last time this section of Roosevelt was resurfaced, but our current process involves making sure we do incorporate NMTP projects into road resurfacing.
This section is on the list for resurfacing again in 2020, so it is an opportune time to complete the bike lane project from the NMTP.
Right now, bike lanes exist on Goodale Avenue East, and on Roosevelt, east of Garrison, so the addition of these bike lanes will offer a continuous route through this northern section of the city. The Linear Park path also travels in this area.
A 4-to-3 lane conversion -- commonly called a "road diet" -- will use the road's existing footprint, and re-stripe it to have one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, and bike lanes in each direction. Here is the proposed cross section that reflects that change:
There are a number of safety concerns addressed by a 4-to-3 lane conversion:
Bicyclists are allowed to ride on public roads -- like Roosevelt -- regardless of whether there are bike lanes. This project would make cycling safer in this area.
For this project, the Engineering team compared average daily traffic (ADT) volume on this section of Roosevelt to other roads where similar projects have taken place. They found that this section will accommodate a traffic lane reduction, and have no concerns about traffic here.
As an example, this section of Roosevelt sees 6,610 ADT. Capital Avenue SW, near Golden Avenue, sees 16,000 ADT -- a much higher volume -- but also experience a traffic lane reduction, and addition of bike lanes.
This graphic shows the proposed configuration of traffic and bike lanes at Roosevelt Avenue and North Avenue. Currently there are two vehicle lanes in each direction at the intersection. This project will change the configuration, so there is a dedicated turn lane. We do not expect this will change the timing of the traffic signal.
No. The Michigan Vehicle Code prohibits this. Buses will continue to use this route, and drivers following buses may experience delays in this section.
We expect construction to begin in the summer of 2020. Watch the city's website, social media, and other communication media for updated and specific information. Traffic will be able to get through this area during construction.
Carl Fedders, city engineer and assistant director of the Department of Public Works, at 269-966-3343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city's Engineering team will hold a public open house about this project from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Department of Public Works, 150 S. Kendall St. Staff would like any public input on this project, at the open house, by phone or email, or via social media, so please share your comments in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Thank you!
BCGo is a new premium public transportation option from Battle Creek Transit. It will extend outside of the traditional hours and service area of Transit bus routes.
BCGo will operate from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Dispatchers will stop taking trip requests at 11:30 p.m. Saturdays, and at 5:30 p.m. Sundays. At this time, the service will not operate on weekdays.
BCGo will operate in the same service area as the current Tele-Transit (scheduled ride) service, in the City of Battle Creek, and portions of the City of Springfield, and Bedford, Emmett, and Pennfield townships.
It also provides service to Firekeepers Casino Hotel, Hickory Hills Village, and St. Mary's Lake.
BCGo operates as an on-demand, shared-ride service. Passengers should call 269-966-3474 to request a trip. These trips will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis, and cannot be scheduled in advance. A vehicle made need extra time to reach your pickup location, and a dispatcher can provide you with an estimated arrival time.
Shared-ride means that BCGo may pick up or drop off other passengers during your trip. To remain affordable and efficient, BCGo may need to take alternate routes or detours to your destination, to accommodate picking up or dropping off other passengers. This may extend your expected travel time. The fare will not change based on time or mileage.
There are three fare zones, ranging from $5 to $15, depending on your destination. Generally:
Click here for the fare zone map.
These fares are per passenger, and apply to all riders, regardless of age or disability status.
BCGo accepts only cash fare payments. A farebox on the vehicle will accept your fare, and does not provide change. All fares must be paid in cash, with exact change. Drivers do not carry cash and cannot make change.
BCGo does not accept Tele-Transit passes, reduced-fare passes, or discounted fare applications.
BCGo is operated as part of Battle Creek Transit, and all passengers will ride on the wheelchair-accessible vehicles that normally operate for Tele-Transit, during the hours of bus route service. If you need help boarding or leaving the vehicle, the driver will assist you. At your request, the driver can deploy a ramp or lift to assist you.
Passengers may not eat, drink, or smoke on Transit vehicles. Drinks in sealed containers are allowed. Open containers and open alcohol are prohibited.
Service animals under the control of their handler are allowed, and should be indicted at the time you request your trip. Pets can ride, as long as they are in a carrier that fits on your lap, or on the floor at your feet.
Grocery bags, laundry baskets, and other items are limited to what is under your control, and can be loaded or unloaded in one trip. The driver cannot help you carry items on or off the vehicle, and all items should fit on your lap or at your feet, out of the aisle. You may not place items on empty seats.
BCGo cannot accommodate bicycles at this time.
Yes. All vehicles have lap and shoulder belts, and all passengers must wear a seat belt while on the vehicle. BCGo vehicles do not have child safety seats.
No. At this time, the only way to request a trip with BCGo is to call the Battle Creek Transit dispatch office at 269-966-3474. BCGo provides only same-day requests and cannot book trips in advance.
Call Battle Creek Transit at 269-966-3474 during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
You can also visit the Transit website, www.battlecreekmi.gov/transit, where you will find information about BCGo, as well as routes, schedules, and timing information for the current bus route and Tele-Transit services.
The Citizens Police Academy is your opportunity to learn more about how the Battle Creek Police Department operates. The Academy runs once a year. The Citizens Police Academy is a group of Battle Creek area citizens who are interested in learning more about how their Police Department operates and the policing challenges our community faces. Participants in each session commit to meeting for 3 hours, 1 night per week for 10 weeks to learn about each aspect of the department.
The purpose of the Battle Creek Police Citizens Academy is to develop positive relations between the police and community through education. The goals are to create a growing nucleus of responsible, well-informed citizens who have the potential of influencing the public opinions about police practices and services. Citizens will gain an appreciation of the problem and challenges facing law enforcement and have an opportunity to offer comments and ideas regarding solutions.
Participants must be 18 years of age or older. They must be a resident of the City of Battle Creek, Bedford Township, a business owner in the area or otherwise have a vested interest in the community. Participants will be chosen at the discretion of the Chief of Police.
You may contact Jenny Mualhlun at 269-966-1678 for more information, or just fill out the quick and easy
The ordinance prohibits the handheld-use of a phone, or any "two-way wireless electronic communication device," while driving a vehicle (with exceptions, explained below). This includes scrolling and typing on said phone or device, as well as speaking.
This is a change in the rules in the Uniform Traffic Code, Chapter 410 in the city's code of ordinances. See the city's ordinances here.
Within the boundaries of the City of Battle Creek. Signs are posted at entry points to the city, and look like this:
Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. However, police did not write tickets for violation of the law before crews posted signs at city entry points, completed in December.
Yes -- MCL 257.602b. This state law specifically prohibits texting while driving. While some state laws prohibit municipalities from passing related laws, this one does not. The City of Battle Creek is not in conflict with the state law.
Yes -- the City of Troy and the City of Detroit. Troy's ordinance includes an expansive definition of "distracted driving," which could include eating while driving. Detroit's ordinance prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.
The idea cam several years ago from the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee, of which former Mayor and Commissioner Dave Walters is chairman (at the time the law was approved). The committee, including current Commissioner Kaytee Faris, brought research and ideas to city staff to draft the ordinance.
Cyclists are in the unique position to more frequently see into vehicles, and notice when drivers are using cell phones. This is a safety concern for cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers.
The new ordinance is viewed as more enforceable than the state law, as it is difficult to prove that someone was texting while driving, as opposed to scrolling through Facebook or browsing the internet. The ordinance addresses a broader variety of activities that take drivers' attention away from the road.
The City Commission introduced the ordinance on Jan. 22, 2019, and voted it into law on Feb. 5, 2019.
Yes -- those driving in the city can talk hands-free with a Bluetooth wireless vehicle connection, or using a Bluetooth wireless headset connected to a cell phone.
Yes -- those who are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission may use radio service equipment in their vehicles.
Yes -- an exception to the rule applies to reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard.
Exceptions also are in place for reporting a situation when a person believes their personal safety is in danger, and reporting the potential or actual perception of a crime.
Police Chief Jim Blocker has said this issue is no more a priority than other laws enforced by the Battle Creek Police Department. It is a tool officers can use when it is necessary, and when they have the time. Police also plan to use this as an educational opportunity, to get the message out into the community that distracted driving is not safe driving.
Yes -- an exception is in place for police officers, law enforcement officials, members of a fire department, and emergency vehicle operators, while carrying out their official duties.
According to information collected by the Michigan State Police, Battle Creek is in the top 50 Michigan communities with the most distracted driving crashes. Battle Creek had 126 vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving in 2017. That is 8 percent of all crashes in Battle Creek, according to police.
Statewide, there were 7,516 crashes involving distracted driving in 2015, resulting in 28 deaths and 3,472 injuries. Of these, a cell phone was involved in 753 crashes, with three deaths and 251 injuries.
This was up from 5,353 such crashes in 2014, resulting in 14 deaths and 2,401 injuries.
Violating this local ordinance is a civil infraction; the fine for a first offense is $100, while the fine for second and subsequent offenses is $200. Any violation also could be subject to additional, court-assessed, costs.
Absent voter ballots are available to all registered voters for all elections. Your request for an absent voter ballot must be in writing and must be submitted to the City Clerk's office by hand, via postal mail, fax, or email, as long as a signature is visible . The written request may be on a pre-printed application form supplied by the City or on the absent voter ballot application supplied by the State of Michigan, in a letter or on a postcard. Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by the Clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. If you’re already registered at your current address, you can request an absent voter ballot in person at the Clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election. If you’re registering to vote or updating your address by appearing at the Clerk’s office on Election Day, you can request an absent voter ballot at the same time you register. If you request your AV ballot the day before the election or on election day, you must vote the ballot in the Clerk's office.
Michigan does have a voter identification requirement at the polls. Voters are asked to present an acceptable photo ID such as a Michigan driver's license or identification card. Please note that voters who do not have an acceptable form of ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls still can vote. They simply sign a brief affidavit stating that they're not in possession of a photo ID. Their ballots are included with all others and counted on Election Day.
The following types of photo ID are acceptable:
The ID does not need your address.
You cannot "split" your ticket (i.e., vote in more than one party column) when voting in the August primary. Voters participating in an August primary must confine their votes to a single party column.
November General Election
You can "split" your ticket when voting in the November general election. A voter participating in a November general election who wishes to cast a "split" ticket can vote for individual candidates of his or her choice under any party.
Yes. Under state law, you may request assistance from the precinct board for voting assistance. When a voter asks the precinct board for voting assistance, two election inspectors who have expressed a preference for different political parties must provide the needed help. Under federal law, a voter who is blind, disabled or unable to read or write may be assisted with his or her ballot by any person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of a union the voter belongs to.
Yes. A minor child may accompany a voter in the voting booth at an election. Anyone under the age of 18 years is regarded as a minor child under state election law.
No. Voter registration is permanent, however if you move from one community to another or change your name, you must re-register to vote. State law requires that you register to vote at the address shown on your Michigan Driver’s License.
Your polling location and precinct number are located on your voter ID card. If you do not have your voter ID card, you may obtain this information by calling (269) 966-3348 or visit the State of Michigan Voter Website.
The Bureau of Elections has compiled The Presidential Primary Reference Guide which lists the history of the presidential primary in Michigan.
You can check on the status of your absent voter ballot request by contacting your city or township clerk's office. Voters can obtain contact information for their clerk by using the Michigan Voter Information Center.
To register to vote, you must be all of the following:
How to Register:
Eligible citizens may become registered to vote in a variety of ways, at any time through Election Day. Individuals who register to vote within the 14-day period immediately preceding an election must appear in person at their city or township clerk’s office and provide proof of residency.
Individuals using any other method must register to vote at least 15 days before Election Day and are not required to provide proof of residency. Other methods of registration include an application obtained at one of the following locations:
Michigan law states that the same address must be used for voter registration and driver's license purposes. That means, if the residence address you provide on the application differs from the address shown on a driver's license or personal identification card issued by the state of Michigan, the Secretary of State will automatically change your driver's license or personal ID card address to match the residence address entered on this form. If a change is made, the Secretary of State will mail you an address update sticker for your driver's license or personal ID card.
If you are a military or overseas civilian voter who is eligible to vote in Michigan and you are living outside the U.S., you may send a Federal Postcard Application to register to vote and request an application. This application is distributed through U.S. embassies and military bases.
The use of video cameras, still cameras and other recording devices are prohibited in the polls when they are open for voting. This includes still cameras and other recording features built into many cell phones. The ban applies to all voters, challengers, poll watchers and election workers. Exceptions are made for credentialed members of the news media though certain restrictions and for voters wishing to take a photograph of their own ballot.
Voters may take a photograph of their own ballot but only while they are within the voting booth. However, the following actions are prohibited:
The city and Bronson Battle Creek Hospital have attempted for a long time to make the intersection of Emmett Street and North Avenue safer for pedestrians, while maintaining the intersection's level of service. This is an extraordinary challenge, due to the off-site hospital employee parking, which generates an abundance of pedestrian trips at several different times throughout the day and night.
In addition, the intersection handles about 23,000 vehicles per day, along with the majority of hospital emergency room traffic.
City and Bronson staff met in January 2017 to discuss intersection safety. Following that meeting, the current "no turn on red" prohibition for all legs of the intersection was installed, and a new, mid-block crosswalk was installed at Emmett and College streets. Both of these improvements were in place at the time of a fatal crash at the intersection in October 2018.
This is a rendering of the proposed design:
In December 2018, the city hired OHM Advisors to perform a Road Safety Audit (RSA) at the intersection. An RSA is a formal safety performance examination of an existing intersection by an independent, multi-disciplinary team.
OHM presented the final report to the city and Bronson, with several short-term and long-term suggested improvements.
The city has implemented many of the short-term improvements – sign reduction and sign placement improvements, bus stop relocation, and traffic signal back plate installation. The city funded these changes through the normal traffic signal maintenance fund.
We still plan to make pavement marking upgrades, and a signal timing modification that will give pedestrians a head start, while all other phases sit at a red signal.
Currently at the intersection of Emmett Street and North Avenue:
Roundabout intersections are a growing trend that have demonstrated overall safety improvements. Advantages at the Emmett Street and North Avenue intersection are:
Some studies state that crash volumes have increased at roundabout intersections.
This is often true, but a closer look at the statistics shows that the overall benefits of a roundabout intersection include a massive reduction -- or elimination -- of accidents involving injury or death.
This is a trade-off we must consider to reach a goal of zero fatal accidents at the intersection. Currently, accidents at this intersection have resulted in one fatality, and one serious injury.
Unlike the Sprinkle Road roundabout, the proposed design for Emmett Street and North Avenue would be smaller, and only maintain a single lane of traffic. This design will force drivers to slow down, which has demonstrated that more cars yield to pedestrians. The slower the vehicles travel, the more likely they are to yield.
The roundabout in Marshall is much larger than the proposed roundabout at Emmett and North. The larger diameter and vehicle trail lanes make drivers more comfortable driving at higher speeds. This roundabout also allows pedestrians to cross into the center of the circle to visit the fountain in four separate locations, which causes two problems -- drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians, causing a crash; and drivers who do yield, which causes the roundabout to not operate properly. The proposed design at Emmett/North will only permit crossing a minimum of two car lengths outside the roundabout, to allow for yielding driver stacking, which then allows the roundabout to remain in operation.
In the proposed roundabout design, a pedestrian would encounter a safer scenario than what currently exists:
Currently, the intersection has a fair number of jaywalkers, crossing at points further away from the Emmett/North intersection. When asked why, the pedestrians stated that they felt safer crossing this way. The roundabout crosswalks would be positioned in similar areas, a distance away from the roundabout.
This setup allows drivers and pedestrians more time to recognize each other than 90-degree angles at a typical intersection.
The total cost would be approximately $1 million.
The proposed roundabout is eligible for two different grant programs. The city already has secured a $250,000 Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant for the project. We can submit a safety grant application in August to request $600,000 from the Michigan Department of Transportation. This means the city would need $150,000 from our normal road program funds.
This project also will reduce the city's traffic signal operations cost.
City staff have considered a pedestrian tunnel and bridge, but neither is a feasible solution at this intersection.
A tunnel is not feasible due to the current ground water table in the area.
A bridge is not feasible for the following reasons:
Call the city's Engineering Division, at 269-966-3343. You can email the city at PublicInput@battlecreekmi.gov.
You also can email us at PublicInput@battlecreekmi.gov. Voice a Concern form
An ordinance is effective 10 days after adoption, so applications will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, May 14. The City Commission approved the ordinance at the May 1, 2018 regular meeting.
City Hall Room 117, 10 N. Division St. On the first floor, it's the last door on the left. You also can call Planning staff with questions, at 269-966-3320.
A property owner or tenant (with written permission from the property owner) of single-family homes or duplexes.
1. Submit a hen license application, with the $20 fee, and submit a shed/fence application, with the $80 fee.
2. Once the applications are approved, you will have 30 days to complete the construction of the shed/fence, and request final inspection. If you do not complete this step in the allotted 30 days, you will lose your place in line for a permit.
3. If the shed/fence are approved, you will be issued your hen license.
4. Hens now are allowed on your property.
The number of hens allowed is based on the overall property size. Applicants must meet setbacks for the coop and enclosure.
Review the ordinance online here: ADOPTED urban livestock ordinance
View your property on the city's GIS mapping app here: BC map
Planning and Zoning staff can assist with additional questions at 269-966-3320.
No, you may not build/install the fence/shed prior to obtaining the permit, or you will be fined $150 for doing work prior to receiving a permit.
Yes -- the hen permit is good for three years. You must apply for a renewal license, for the fee of $20.
2008 -- In short, the 2008 laws provided a legal use of marihuana for medical purposes only by qualifying patients, and allowed caregivers to register and provide qualifying patients the marihuana. It also limited the amount of "usable" marihuana the patients could possess and the number of marihuana plants that could be grown. Marihuana dispensaries (selling) were not allowed.
2016 -- The 2008 laws are still in effect, but the 2016 laws allow for a series of commercial-like medical marihuana licenses: growing, processing, safety compliance (testing), transportation, and provisioning center (selling). Fewer restrictions apply, and the number of plants allowed to be grown may be well over 1,000 per license. A qualified patient or caregiver may purchase medical marihuana directly from a licensed provisioning center (dispensary).
Recreational marijuana is not legal in Michigan at this time.
1. Grower -- A commercial entity that cultivates, dries, trims, or cures and packages marihuana for sale to a processor or provisioning center.
2. Processor -- A commercial entity that purchases marihuana from a grower and extracts resin from the marihuana, or creates a marihuana-infused product for sale and transfer in packaged form to a provisioning center.
3. Safety Compliance (testing) -- A commercial entity that receives marihuana from a marihuana facility or registered primary caregiver, tests it for contaminants, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids, returns the test results, and may return the marihuana to the facility.
4. Secure Transporter -- A commercial entity that stores marihuana and transports it between marihuana facilities for a fee.
5. Provisioning Center (selling) -- A commercial entity that purchases marihuana from a grower or processor and sells, supplies, or provides marihuana to registered qualifying patients, directly or through their registered, primary caregivers.
City staff researched other, nearby communities to learn where they restrict or allow medical marihuana facilities. Through zoning regulations, which control land use, the city may allow these facilities in some areas, while prohibiting them in others.
Based on staff research, allowable locations may be industrial areas, like the area of the W.K. Kellogg Airport, Fort Custer Industrial Park, and limited commercial corridors. At this time, these locations are conceptual, as seen on these Medical Marihuana Maps.
Such facilities may be prohibited near residential neighborhoods, churches, schools, parks, and day cares. These prohibited areas are similar to other communities.
Community Comparisons: Click Here to see what other communities near Battle Creek are deciding on allowing/disallowing MMLFA uses.
The state-issued license does not automatically give approval at the city level. If the City Commission decides to allow medical marihuana licenses locally, there will be a new city permitting process and a set of local regulations that must be met.
Both a state license and local permit must be issued before a medical marihuana business can open in Battle Creek. At this time, it appears that a potential licensee would need conceptual approval from the city before the state would issue a medical marihuana license.
Based on current information, the state will restrict growing facilities to industrial and agricultural areas. Many cities are restricting further, keeping medical marihuana businesses a required distance away from schools, churches, parks, and residential properties. The City of Battle Creek has drafted conceptual maps, which show similar restrictions.
Click the link and scroll down the main Planning Division page to find the Medical Marihuana Maps
The State of Michigan has not established a minimum age. However, local communities may require a minimum age. Some nearby communities have used a minimum age of 18.
According to state law, stores that sell, or allow on-site consumption of, alcohol or tobacco products cannot sell medical marihuana.
Marihuana spelled with an "h" references the 2008 and 2016 Michigan laws pertaining to medical purposes. Marijuana with a "j" typically refers to recreational use.
The city can regulate, in part:
-Number of permits/licenses
-Proximity to other uses/businesses
-Hours of operation
-Size and height of buildings
-Types of businesses
In Michigan, marihuana can only be grown, distributed, and sold for medical purposes. States allowing recreational marijuana use regulate marijuana in a way similar to alcohol.
The City Commission may decide to require public notification for proposed medical marihuana businesses, depending on the type and number of licenses, or scale of the project.
The city’s current residential curbside waste contract with Waste Management expires at the end of March 2021, so in 2020 we worked through the process of seeking proposals for that service. Waste Management and Republic Services submitted proposals, and Republic was the lowest responsive, responsible bid. Staff recommended Republic to the City Commission, and the commission approved the new contract at their Dec. 15, 2020 regular meeting.
Service with Republic begins in the city on April 1, 2021.
Services with Republic will be mostly the same as those living in the city have now:
City customers will pay their Republic service bill as part of the monthly utility bill, as you do now. If you choose to rent trash or yard waste carts from Republic, that will be a separate bill, directly from Republic, also as happens now.
The contract with Republic is for five years, with possible extensions. The costs are as follows.
As of January 2021, city customers pay $19 per month for curbside regular service. Rates typically have increased once each year, as part of each contract. Both service proposals the city received for the new contract showed cost increases.
If you do not already receive the senior/handicapped service discount you can apply with the form at this page: Click here to access the Elderly/Handicapped Discount form.
If you already receive backyard service, or have a senior/handicapped discount, those will remain in place when we transition to Republic service.
Click this link to access the forms to apply for these services, if you do not have them and would like them. For backyard service, choose Optional Service Selection-Garbage, and for the discount, choose Request for Elderly/Handicapped Discount.
For more information, please call our Utility Billing team at 269-966-3366.
Republic is working now (January 2021) to determine the best routes, for the best service in the city. They will also determine recycling routes, once we know which neighbors wish to opt into that service.
With these factors in mind, it is possible your trash and recycling pick-up days will change, and it is possible your trash and recycling will be collected on different days.
Please stay tuned. We will share more information, calendars, and maps once this information is finalized.
As soon as possible, please do one of the following:
When you take this step, Republic will bring a recycling cart to your home before the April 1 service start. There is no extra cost for the recycling cart.
Check out this image to learn what you can recycle in the Republic curbside cart. Like we have now, this is a single-stream cart, so you will place all items in the cart, loose and together.
What can I recycle? Que puedo reciclar?
Yes, Republic has recycling drop-off centers in Kalamazoo and Marshall, which accept the same items you can place in the curbside cart.
There will be a small fee to use these centers, for anyone who does not recycle at the curbside. If you opt into curbside recycling, you can use the centers at no extra cost.
The main reason for the city contracting with one hauler is to limit the wear and tear on our streets, and limit the large truck traffic in the neighborhoods. There are more than 16,000 households receiving service, so it requires many fewer trucks when we stick with one hauler.
Republic Services and Waste Management submitted proposals, with a difference of $6 million between the two, over the contract time.
The price difference is less stark when we look at it on a per-household basis, and when we look at the percent increase per year. The price the city paid in late 2020, at the time of the new contract approval, was much less than either new proposal.-The current contract price we pay Waste Management is $14.45 per household-Republic proposed $19.24 per household, with increases each year-Waste Management proposed $20.20 per household, with increases each year
Along with the other calculations Republic made to propose that price per household, note that they have a Calhoun County facility, and don’t have to transport waste a great distance, which saves time and money.
Yes. We asked those submitting proposals to include pricing for unlimited curbside trash pickup, which the city has now, as well as recommendations for service changes that could reduce costs, improve operation efficiency, and be more environmentally friendly. The city would work with the City Commission and the community on such changes, and we believe a change to our ordinance would be helpful. We did not have time to move that along before the current contract expires, but have plans to do so during 2021.
At the time of the new contract, we will continue to have unlimited curbside trash pickup.
The city did use Republic for service at city-owned parks and buildings, and we had an issue with incorrect billing. That was over five years ago, and Republic has since changed their software. We don’t think this will be a problem.
The city is working with both Waste Management and Republic to coordinate WM pickup of their recycling and rental trash/yard waste carts, and delivery of any Republic carts to your homes. We hope to do this in a way that keeps service running smoothly, as we transition.
Please stayed tuned for more specific information as we know it, and get closer to the switch (April 1).
The prohibited use of train horns at quiet zones only applies to trains when approaching and entering crossings and does not include train horn use within passenger stations or rail yards. Train horns may be sounded in emergency situations or to comply with other railroad or Federal Railroad Administration rules even within a quiet zone. Quiet zone regulations also do not eliminate the use of locomotive bells at crossings.
Communities wishing to establish quiet zones must work through the appropriate public authority that is responsible for traffic control or law enforcement at the crossings.
By comparison, according to a chart from the FRA, a car driving 40 mph, 50 feet away, would be in the 60- to 70-decibel range and a blender would be in the 70- to 80-decibel range.
Elm Street to McCamly Street, CN line -- 25 freight, 8 Amtrak, 3 Norfolk SouthernMichigan Avenue, CN crossing -- 25 freight, 2 AmtrakKendall Street, CN crossing -- 25 freightKendall Street, Michigan line crossing -- 8 Amtrak, 3 NS
As an example:Taking the total number of trains from Elm to McCamly, 36, multiplied by the number of horn blasts required by the federal Train Horn Rule -- two long, one short, one long (four) -- there are currently 864 horn blasts per day in this section. There are six crossings from Elm to McCamly.
There are a variety of safety measure options entities can use to accomplish this and vary by crossing. In addition to the required two-quadrant gates, lights and bells, improvements could be four-quadrant gates, raised curbs in the median, channelization and wayside horns. Entities also can choose to close a public crossing, removing the requirement for a train to sound its horn on approach.
We wish we had enough snow plows and drivers to take care of every street right away, but our resources are limited, so we must adhere to a carefully laid out system for clearing the streets. If we allowed our plows to be diverted each time a special request is made, it would take longer to get all streets in the city cleared. Plowing priorities are: 1) State trunklines and major streets; 2) Battle Creek Transit bus routes and around schools; 3) residential streets; 4) cul-de-sacs and alleys.
We estimate that it takes three days to plow the entire city.
Each snow plow has an assigned section. If the trucks spread salt on the way to their destination, they won't have enough to spread in their sections. Plus, other drivers passing through may plow off the salt without realizing it. Plowing along the way would mean that it would take that much longer for the truck to reach its assigned section.
A plow can easily cut a path through the snow on a straight road surface, but trying to plow and turn the blade in the small circle of a cul-de-sac is very difficult. Therefore, smaller pickup trucks with plows are used to plow most cul-de-sacs more efficiently than the large trucks. We also plow toward the middle of the street, to avoid filling driveways in this smaller space.Please note that cul-de-sacs are lower on our plowing priority list, since we have fewer neighbors living on them. We ask for your patience and our trucks will get to you.
We generally don't use sand because, in an urban setting like Battle Creek, sand washes into and can clog our storm sewers. However, there are occasions when we will use a small amount of sand, when roads are extremely icy and temperatures are extremely low. If we see a lot of hard-packed snow at an intersection and salt isn't working, we will use sand. We do not use sand downtown.
Sidewalks are a lower priority and our crews begin that work when possible, once roads are cleared. We have 300 miles of roads within the city limits and 25 crew members who plow in the 13 maintenance sections of the city.
When we're able, we clear city-owned sidewalks around our parks, cemeteries, and several other areas.
We do also have designated snow removal priority areas -- in particular around schools and public transportation routes. For more information on our sidewalk ordinance (Chapter 1022), please call our Code Compliance Division, 269-966-3387.
For the 2018-2019 season, we have a budget of roughly $2.1 million, which includes major, local, and MDOT roads. Plowing is funded by state Public Act 51 money, which comes from the gas and weight taxes. Local taxes do not fund snow plowing operations. Overall, our budgets have started to increase, but we face increased expenses. We deal with fuel costs, equipment costs (a dump truck cost $70,000 in 2000 and $125,000 in 2012), and salt costs.
We place two salt orders for the year. In 2018-2019, our early order (October delivery) was 500 tons at $60.43 per ton. Our seasonal order (throughout the winter) was 5,500 tons at $54.45 per ton. Total, that's nearly $330,000 for the season.
Route, schedule, and fare information is available on the Transit site. Route and Schedules
If you have an appointment scheduled for meter access, the service person will arrive within the two-hour appointment window given to you.
You always are welcome to call the Water Meter or Utility Billing Division if you have questions regarding an appointment.
There is the possibility that the old transmitter was not providing our system with a current read. If that is the case, the city has a process in place for reconciling the account. Should you see a water bill that seems out of line, please call Utility Billing at 269-966-3366 to review the steps to resolve an amount due. This situation is one of the reasons we are installing the new read system.