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Battle Creek slated to receive $3 million from state budget for downtown revitalization projects

City of Battle Creek Damage
Posted at 7:19 AM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 08:07:02-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Michigan could be putting a few million dollars toward Battle Creek for some major downtown improvements.

It's now just waiting for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to sign and approve the state budget.

The city is slated to receive a total of $3 million for two projects. Battle Creek City Hall will receive $1 million to revamp the deteriorating facade and retaining wall, and the McCamly Plaza Hotel will receive $2 million to help with revitalization and reopening efforts.

"Two really important projects for Battle Creek," said Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury.

The two staples, McCamly Plaza Hotel and Battle Creek City Hall, in the downtown area will soon be getting an upgrade.

"In 2017, we had a very large piece of City Hall fall off, and that was kind of our first indication that we had weather damage to a building that's well over 100 years old," said Fleury.

Since that time, there has been a fence and wooden awning surrounding the outside to ensure the safety of people using the building, with the intent of eventually getting it fixed.

"Because we've had such budget constraints, and a lot of impact, a negative impact to our revenue in the general fund, we just have not had money to be able to fix it. As you can imagine, it's not an inexpensive fix," said Fleury.

Especially as a historical landmark, the city has to ensure they repair it correctly following the guidelines. With the potential $1 million, the city is confident it can do it.

Another project in Battle Creek is also slated to receive money from the state budget. That project is around the 40-year-old McCamly Plaza Hotel, owned by Battle Creek Unlimited since November 2020.

"That's a hugely expensive project to bring a hotel back online during a global pandemic, and with a building that has sat vacant for quite a long time and really has been left unaddressed for a period of years," said Fleury.

The entire revitalization and remodel of the hotel and surrounding buildings is estimated to cost around $44 million, with this $2 million to hopefully close the funding gap.

“We are excited to bring this iconic Battle Creek hotel back to life with a complete refresh that will benefit the community economically for decades to come," said Battle Creek Unlimited President and CEO Joe Sobieralski.

"From a pride standpoint, this is an incredible opportunity that I know it's a long time coming, but we will certainly celebrate," said Fleury.

The city said they're hoping to begin and complete construction city hall in 2022. It will also be considering changes to better serve neighbors who visit city hall for services.

Battle Creek Unlimited said they're hoping to have construction finished and the hotel opened sometime within the first part of 2023.