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Local InterestI ... I believe ... I believe in Battle Creek!Picture these words as the call- and-answer chant of 15 people from the Battle Creek com- munity. They are city neighbors, city staff, project orga- nizers, and all ofthem believe in this city, the progress we have made to be a more inclusive com- munity through civic engagement, and the commitment to continue great work.This team shared the city’s values and stories with other communities from across the country in late June, as part of the National Civic League’s All-Amer- ica City Awards. With help from orga- nizers from BC Vision; the BattleCreek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation;and the Byrne criminal justicegrant, the City of Battle Creek applied for the award last fall. Wewere honored to be named one of20 finalist communities, and at-tend the awards event in Denver, Colorado.Communities this year were honored for using civic engage- ment, inclusiveness, and innova- tion to successfully address local issues.While Battle Creek was notchosen as one of the 10 winners in2018, the team is proud of our community successes, while recognizing the amount of work left to do. All of the communities gained an appreciation for each other, the work we do, and the similar work happen- ing across the country.We hope many neighbors and visitors are hearing the ongoing buzz about all the great economic development happening in Battle Creek. The city continues its partnership with and support of Battle Creek Unlimited, and the great work they have done too, for example, offer incen- tives that attracted New Holland Brewing to our downtown in 2019, and helped lo- cally-owned Restore (269) create a plan for 15 Carlyle that includes a start-up brewery and event space.The city’s Small Business Develop- ment Team has developed a strategic plan to support small business growth and creation here. This includes tactics and actions that support six focus areas – in- ter-agency cooperation, access to capital,local procurement, district development, technical assistance, and retention and at- traction. The team looks to partner with Northern Initiatives, and other consulting partners, to help implement plan specif- ics. Working collaboratively with part- ners, the city hopes to create a compre- hensive support system that fosters small business success.We already are seeing success in the new and vibrant BC Cargo shops, at the corner of McCamly Street and Hamblin Avenue. This project helps fill the need for small, affordable retail spaces. We hope these tiny shops will incubate small businesses that then can move into permanent spaces in our community, or nearby. Check out BC Cargo Wednesday through Sunday!meeting and event dates, visit our depart- ments, and scan the I Want To... tab for specific service needs.Sign up for email and/or text alerts at Get Water System Information updates – like water work that will shut off water for a street or neighborhood, and boil water advisories after such work – or choose other notifica- tions. Just enter your email address to get started.Watch our monthly AccessVision TV program, Keeping You Informed, host- ed by Commissioner Lynn Ward Gray. It airs at 6pm, Wednesdays, on Com- cast 17/917 and AT&T 99. Watch on demand at ing-you-informed, including our on-the-road tour of the Department of Public Works.Check out the BC City Con- nections newsletter, a bi-monthly communication distributed via the water bills. If you are signed up for e-billing, just head to our web- site – you’ll find the latest news- letter in the Get Connected tab.If you use social media, be sure to like and follow us – we use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor, LinkedIn, and You- Tube. Also contact us by email, at City Manager, Rebecca Fleury, is a proud member of the Michigan Municipal League’s 16/50 Project Work Group. This effort to in- crease our number of women leaders acknowledges that, while women make up more than 50 percent of the state’s general population, only 16 percent of Michigan municipal managers arewomen.The MML has three focus areas tohelp address this issue, and empow- er women in Michigan to tap into their leadership potential: using education and awareness to break down the inher- ent bias in selecting women to executive office positions; providing women with tools to help them face their unique chal- lenges; and using proactive outreach to help bring interested candidates to mu- nicipal management.Battle Creek is proud that half of our senior leadership team are women, and want to see this movement across Mich- igan. Read more about the project at JESSICA VANDERKOLK – City of Battle Creek Communications ManagerBattle Creek’s All-American City Team 2018We also are thrilled by the early-June announcement of the W.K. Kellogg Foun- dation’s $10 million investment to estab- lish a Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund, a next step in our community BC Vision project. Locally designed and supported, the fund will increase access to capital for our entrepreneurs and new businesses. Northern Initiatives, men- tioned above, will manage the fund, and will open an office downtown with local staff.A lot is happening with the City of Battle Creek team, and we hope you have picked up one of the yellow postcards in many of our offices, listing many of the ways to receive city news and informa- tion. We are passionate about telling our own stories, and have a variety of oppor- tunities for neighbors to stay informed.You will find great information on our website, Check out the Latest News and City Spotlight on the home page, check out Stay Connected forANNUAL REPORT CARD I SCENE 4307 11

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