It’s another positive to boost Battle Creek’s north side, as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Calhoun County Land Bank are teaming up to prop up vacant properties.

The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) today announced the beginning of its multi-faceted three-year neighborhood revitalization initiative for the properties it owns in Battle Creek’s Washington Heights neighborhood. This work is made possible through a $550,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation that is focused on activating Land Bank properties.

The initiative will include a pilot skilled trades training program, promotion of small-scale development, and infill housing. Ideas for beautification and art projects are also included in the initiative with the intent of repurposing vacant property. There will be rehabilitation work on existing structures wherever possible and a few demolitions are included. The demolition projects will begin this week.

“We’re thrilled with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s commitment to this work in the Washington Heights neighborhood and we look forward to partnering with existing efforts already underway in the community. Although we are starting with demolition, we are most excited about the other aspects of this grant,” said Krista Trout-Edwards, executive director of the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority. “Because this grant spans three years, it allows us to work with residents to understand their priorities, create meaningful projects, and offer opportunities through property activation and programming that can change the narrative around, and outcome of publicly owned properties in the neighborhood.”

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To that end, the Land Bank will be seeking community engagement and is planning community outreach opportunities to connect with residents, field questions, and concerns and help ensure this project remains on track. To facilitate this integral element to the grant, the Land Bank is seeking an individual interested in acting as a grant technician. This temporary, part-time paid position will assist the Land Bank staff during the implementation of this grant. You can learn more about the position or apply online.

“I want to thank the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for awarding this generous grant that will help uplift the Washington Heights neighborhood,” said Lynn Ward Gray, Vice-Chair of the Calhoun County Land Bank Board. “This project will support ongoing efforts to transform Washington Heights and bring new opportunities to this historic neighborhood.”

“At the Land Bank, our mission is to support the revitalization of communities and our vision for doing that is to act as a catalyst by creating equitable, inclusive opportunities through sustainably repurposing challenged properties,” Trout-Edwards said. “This long-term project for the Washington Heights neighborhood pools all of our programs and adds that much-needed community participation into one effort for the betterment of the community.”

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