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Battle Creek's proposed Kalamazoo River upgrade gaining momentum


The proposed reimagining of the Kalamazoo River in downtown Battle Creek is one step closer as city officials say they have secured a large grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Battle Creek City officials imagine a vibrant downtown in the future that would allow residents to access the Kalamazoo River for recreational purposes, while still protecting the area from flooding. To so would require the daunting task of removing of the concrete channel by the Army Corps of Engineers while replacing it with a more natural option.

What once had been seen as a pipe dream for Battle Creek city officials however is slowly becoming a reality as the State Department of Natural Resources has just awarded the city of Battle Creek with a $250,000 grant to help assist in its planning efforts.

"Us reimagining what the Kalamazoo River can provide for Battle Creek I think it has a huge impact on our community from an economic perspective as well as a natural resources perspective," Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury said. 

In order for that to happen, the city will have to jump over a number of hurdles including a federal interest determination project and feasibility study. City Manager Fleury says however, that surprisingly so far, things are falling in place, including Treehouse Foods leaving their prime riverfront location in June, paving the way for a downtown redevelopment project. 
“And that doesn’t happen very often in a community of our size,” Fleury said. 
City officials are set to meet later this month.

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