Community HealthCare Connections and Nursing Clinic of Battle Creek has a new home in downtown Battle Creek at 62 East Michigan.
The healthcare organization that helps those who might otherwise go without such services, purchased the building and will occupy the roughly 13,000-square-foot building located near Division Street.
A capital campaign and private investment provided the funds to purchase the newly renovated building.
Community HealthCare Connections has existed as an organization since 2009, when it was formed from the merger of the Nursing Clinic of Battle Creek and the Calhoun Health Plan. The organization employs a staff of 19. It provides a prescription drug access program, a volunteer dental services program, assistance in understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and a health assistance fund. Dental and other physician services are available.
"After 26 years in operation, the Nursing Clinic of Battle Creek finally has its own home – a remarkable place where volunteers take care of those in need," says Samantha Pearl, executive director for Community HealthCare Connection.
Previously the organizations served clients from the Toeller Building and an adjacent building. "Our new location also makes us more visible and more easily accessible to those who are working but still without affordable health access--a population that might not know there’s help available for them," Pearl says.
"Our new location distinguishes us as a nonprofit organization – a place where the work of hundreds of volunteers is coordinated to make health services available to people who would otherwise go without," says Samantha Pearl, executive director for Community HealthCare Connection. "
Rob Peterson, Battle Creek Unlimited’s Downtown Development Director, says: "We’re glad Community Healthcare Connections understands the value of locating downtown: Its central location, the amenities available for employees, and the ability to become more ingrained in the fabric of Battle Creek. They’ve picked a beautiful building that we hope will serve them well for years to come."
Source: Battle Creek Unlimited
Now that Business, Technology, and Research Park on Western Michigan University's Parkview Campus is full, plans are moving forward to develop what has historically been called the Colony Farms property.
Robert Miller, Associate Vice President for community outreach for WMU, offered a look back at the history of the development of the BTR Park recently and talked about what lies ahead as part of a Mercantile Bank of Michigan Breakfast Series event hosted by WMU’s Haworth College of Business.
The BTR Park is located on WMU’s 265-acre Parkview Campus, which also is the home of WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It came about as a way to generate tax base for the community and now offers an opportunity for companies that want to be located on the campus of a major research university.
To date, the BTR Park has 42 companies, eight of which have built their own facilities. It is the workplace for 700 people and through its economic impact it has created 800 indirect jobs. The Park also creates opportunities for WMU students to do get real world experience working at companies there.
"Part of the concept is creating an excellent culture of internships," MIller said. "This is experiential learning."
Miller told the group that the BTR Park was planned to help the community make the transition from its position as a home for Big Pharma. As Upjohn sold to Pharmacia, which in turn sold to Pfizer, which went on to downsize, leaders in the community realized they needed a plan, that small, nimble biotech companies were beginning to get traction in the economy, and that with the right facilities Kalamazoo could be part of that economic shift.
The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, an integral part of the BTR Park and now home to 18 companies, was getting ready to open just as Pfizer was announcing in 2003 that it was leaving Kalamazoo. As a result, 800 PhD research scientists now had the choice whether to stay in Kalamazoo or move to another Pfizer location.
"We could go to outgoing Pfizer scientists and say, if you think you would like to start a business, we have a place for you and equipment you can use," Miller said. Pfizer donated millions of dollars worth of equipment to SMIC. "Some great scientists took us up on this opportunity," Miller said.
The BTR Park is dedicated to businesses with a focus in advance engineering, life sciences, information technology or a combination of the three. All 42 companies in the BTR Park have at least one of those areas as a function of what they do, Miller told the full house at the early morning gathering. "There are no donut shops," Miller said. It also was developed with high standards of ecologic preservation.
In 2014, with the development of the Newell Rubbermaid design center, the BTR Park is now at capacity and its tenancy has been stable for 14 years.
So now the university is working with the Oshtemo Township Planning Board to work out plans for the property to the northwest of the BTR Park where there is about 39 to 45 acres that can be developed. The property has been zoned Business, Technology and Research Park.
"We've worked closely with the neighbors and the township to make sure plans are palatable for everybody," Miller said.
Miller could offer no timeline for development of the property as there currently is not yet a way to finance the roads, water and sewer necessary for the property. They could cost about $4 million.
In the larger BTR Park development that infrastructure was paid for in part through the establishment of a SMART Zone that earmarks taxes collected from a specific area for such construction. More than $7 million has been collected there and has gone to pay off the cost of infrastructure.
"We've been working quietly behind the scenes with the Township and Southwest Michigan First," Miller said. "We're reluctant to say when we will break ground since we have to solve the funding of infrastructure issue."
Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Mercantile Bank of Michigan Breakfast Series event
A growing demand for early education and preschool programs is behind the opening of a new Gilden Woods, the second in Kalamazoo. An early 2015 opening is planned for the school, which recently celebrated a ground breaking at its 4620 Arboretum Parkway location.
The new school will employ a total of 30 to 40 teachers, caregivers, and directors, and have an enrollment of up to 168 children.
The new state-of-the-art facility in Kalamazoo will provide infant and toddler care, full- and half-day preschool, and before- and after-school care.
Gilden Woods is related to AppleTree Learning Center, which are corporate partners, according to a press release from the company. There are currently 14 AppleTree Laerning Centers in West Michigan.
says its teachers develop lesson plans and use assessment results to guide their instruction and activities. Each classroom lesson plan is available online to parents of enrolled students. Lesson plans contain fun, challenging, and safe learning experiences for children.
The school's curriculum
emphasizes language development and literacy skills. For this reason, AppleTree has designed its own language and literacy program. This supports other curriculum areas that are taught. It begins in the infant classrooms and continues as children progress through AppleTree.
The school's "great set for school" program incorporates child-friendly teaching strategies, such as using music and movement to bring lessons to life.
For school aged children, fun, educational spring break, winter holiday, and summer day camps will also be offered.
Transportation is provided to and from several local schools. Another feature is secure AppleCam internet access is always available so parents can "visit" their child anytime during the day from their computer or smartphone.
“As a Kalamazoo resident and AppleTree owner in Otsego, I am very excited to bring our high quality, educational child care and preschool program to area families,” says Kalamazoo Owner-operator Julia Buckham.
For more information, check here.
Source: Gilden Woods
One well: It's a phrase meaning we all drink from the same source, we are all part of the same community.
It's also the perfect name for Kalamazoo's newest brewery, a company very much built on the foundation set by the community of breweries that came before it.
"Michigan is one of the greatest states in the country for craft beer. It's been huge. We've seen what's been done," says TJ Waldofsky, co-owner of One Well Brewing
. "We've seen other breweries pop up and we see what they're doing...we look to them, see them as inspiration."
Waldofsky and co-owner Chris O'Neill are also inspired by all the hard work and support thrown their way by fellow craft beer drinkers, friends, and relatives.
"The name is representative of how we built and did everything ourselves, and if we didn't know how to do something we found friends and family who did," Waldofsky says. "We don't want to disappoint anyone who helped us get to where we are now. It's been such a community effort."
Since its grand opening on Friday, Nov. 28
Waldofsky and O'Neill hope to take a stable of five beers and build on a legacy of history and community spirit while also literally brewing on the foundation set by a past member of the local industry--Sunset Boulevard Brewing Co.
Now defunct, Sunset Boulvard operated from January to July of 2012 out of the space at 4213 Portage Street currently occupied by One Well.
"It was perfect from the brewing side of things, the hoods, the floor drain, tile floor, the foundation was all in place. That was super helpful," Waldofsky says.
Of course, Sunset Boulevard patrons will barely recognize the interior of the new brewery as the front of house has completely changed, going from the California influenced lounge-like setting of its previous tenant to a DIY esthetic of reclaimed wood, and antique furnishings built and brought in by One Well.
"We think we have a lot of things here that will bring people in to just relax and hang out," Waldofsky says. "We have real dart boards, a pool table, a huge collection of board games, the mug club so people can feel like their drinking at home, a piano; if you want to come down and play and entertain people … Oh yeah, and we have arcade games too."
Waldofsky, whose background is in business management and events coordination, and O'Neill, who handles the brewing side of things, pride themselves on teamwork and communication and hope their ability to cooperate and bring different expertise to the table reflects in the atmosphere at the brewery.
"We'll have a projection screen for watching some of the games, but we don't want to be a sports bar," Waldofsky says. "We want people to come down and be able to strike up a conversation with the person next to them."
That conversation, to start with at least, will probably be over a pint of one of five staple beers: an IPA, a hoppy wheat, an American style blonde, a brown and a jalapeno infused blonde. All of which will be brewed on site in the company's three barrel system.
A soft opening on Saturday, Nov. 22
was a success and Waldofsky expects the 99 seat brew house to be pretty lively during the first couple weeks of business.
"We want to be the community micro brewery but we're also right off the highway, so that should bring in business as well. Our primary business will come from the Milwood neighborhood, but we also hope to get on the brewery tours that are popping up," Waldfosky says.
Jeremy Martin is the craft brew writer for Southwest Michigan's Second Wave.