Photo by Tim Collins, WBCK

Battle Creek’s Burnham Brook Community Center has been renamed “The Kool Family

Meeting Site at the Old Sports Page Lot

Community Center.”   The Battle Creek Community Foundation made the announcement today outside the facility at 241 W. Michigan Avenue.

Donors, ambassadors, civic leaders and community representatives came out to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Burnham Brook Community Center.  One was former Battle Creek Mayor all Bobrofsky, who said, “Twenty years ago, the Burnham Brook Community Center was created as the west end gateway anchor to downtown Battle Creek.  We stand here today, at the site of an example of the power of partnerships.”

Led by another former mayor, businessperson and long-time civic leader Preston Kool, a dedicated group of community volunteers recognized a need in our community and set out to address it.  The group envisioned a place where seniors could meet, enjoy activities and pursue an active, healthy lifestyle.  From this vision, the Burnham Brook Community Center was born.

Over the years, the dedication of Pres Kool and his family for this important community resource was a constant.  Pres was the first chair of the Burnham Brook Board of Directors and his son Tim has served on the Board for 7 years and is the current Board chair.  Together, the Kool Family has held leadership roles at Burnham Brook Community Center for more than half of its history.

A press release from the Foundation said, “It is for this and so many more reasons that the Battle Creek Community Foundation and the Burnham Brook Title Holding Corporation proudly rename the facility to The Kool Family Community Center.”  Pres and Marge Kool, and their 6 children were all present today to see the new sign be unveiled and the building inaugurated.

"The Kool family exemplifies all that is best about people, community and service to others," said Brenda L. Hunt, President and CEO of the Battle Creek Community Foundation, "we are pleased that this renaming signals the continued evolution of the west end anchor gateway community."

The Burnham Brook Community Center opened its doors in 1995 and was the anchor of the broader vision to create a downtown gateway beginning at Washington Street and continuing on down Michigan Avenue to the east.  The BCCF assumed ownership of the Burnham Brook Community Center in 2008 when a new business model was required to facilitate the long-term sustainability of this significant anchor institution.

"Much work has been done to create the beautiful and purposeful Burnham Brook Community Center and surrounding area," said Rick Baron, current chair, Battle Creek Community Foundation Board of Trustees,  "We've set out to show examples of the impact a community can make when people come together."


Photo by Tim Collins, WBCK

Recent enhancements to Burnham Brook Community Center were also announced:


* Burnham Brook's square footage has grown and been reconfigured to make the space more usable for current needs.  All programs and activities were moved to the first floor, which provided for office space for 180 employees within the Center.

* Kitchen renovations that increase the capacity of Meals on Wheels to an estimated 190,940 meals per year averaging 250 meals per week with over 64 volunteers providing service at a cost savings of $26,250 annually.

* Renovations to CentraCare space provided for increased client capacity, streamlined functions and initiated Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine student rotations.