- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - Cereal maker Kellogg and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation plan to work with Battle Creek residents to address economic issues in the city.

The Battle Creek-based company and philanthropic organization introduced an economic development initiative at a community stakeholders meeting Monday, the Battle Creek Enquirer (https://bcene.ws/1rzDtaB ) reported. Foundation president and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron said she expects the whole community to work together to improve Battle Creek. She said she knows the community is “sick and tired of having meetings just to have meetings.”

The event was hosted by Tabron and John Bryant, chairman, president and CEO of Kellogg, both of whom spoke earlier this year about forging partnerships to better serve the community.

“Don’t come in with small thinking and compartmentalizing views,” Tabron said. “Put all inhibitions aside and think about what’s possible from all of us.”

The initiative aims to address issues of employment, education and quality of life. Project implementation will begin in May.

Battle Creek Public Schools Superintendent Linda Hicks spoke in support of the initiative. She said Battle Creek’s most precious resource is its people, so residents should be active in improving the area.

“I’ve watched as each has taken our own roles as leaders and we’ve attempted to change our corner of the community,” Hicks said. “I believe that we all have a role and responsibility to this community.”

The initiative is a four-phase process that began in April with the collection of data through research and focus groups.

Focus group data compiled by Kellogg shows residents cite jobs and the economy as the most serious problems facing the area. It found other important areas on which to improve are unemployment, crime and drugs.

The initiative will continue with stakeholder and community readiness meetings, plan development and strategic implementation.

“I think the timing is perfect - a new city manager coming in to be part of this conversation, knowing that none of us alone have all the answers,” said Rebecca Fleury, who takes over as Battle Creek city manager on Wednesday. “We need to work together to move Battle Creek forward, so it feels like great timing.”

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Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com


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