nfl jersey for sale A Battle Creek downtown believer

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Downtown Battle Creek is my home office away from my home office.

Recently, I had several errands downtown, some personal, like picking up my daughter’s basketball warm ups at Jack Pearls, some work related, like signing papers at the Battle Creek Community Foundation, some in between, like editing a story over a strong cup of coffee at Barista Blues.

At the Battle Creek Community Foundation, I noticed a bowl of rubber bracelets imprinted with “Believe in Battle Creek.”I’m a fan of this brand. It’s on my favorite t shirt, it’s one of my favorite “Color in the Creek” murals, located at 245 W. Michigan Ave., and, new this year, one of my favorite light displays, located at Michigan Ave. and Cass, the future site of Youth Village.

The bracelets came in several colors, but for some reason, I fished out a green one.

Cutting through the Foundation, I made one last stop an overdue trip to see “A. Lincoln,”Richard Schlatter’s ArtPrize winning, 8×12 ft. penny mosaic of the 16th president. I’ve seen it many times through the windows facing the parking lot, but I wanted to see it up close.

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I was the only one in the gallery, outside of the guide, who was quietly crocheting. The guide let me have a few minutes of silence, which I appreciated. I stood before the piece, laptop on my back, paperwork sticking out of my pocket, Jack Pearl bag under my arm, green “Believe in Battle Creek” bracelet on my wrist. Despite feeling rather jolly that day, I found myself fighting tears.

Some of the tears had to do with pride, much like the tears that came when I saw my oldest daughter perform in her first college concert. I don’t know Mr. Schlatter, but he shares my city, and it makes me proud to see one of our own create something so wonderful.

Some of the tears had to do with the green bracelet. Green is the color of the 180Urban papers that hung in the windows of three empty downtown properties. They are gone now because 180Urban is gone now.

I don’t know anyone at 180Urban, but I viewed those green papers like promissory notes, much like I view the papers now covering the windows of Heritage Tower.

That morning, for the first time, I saw the empty insides of those properties, joining so many other empty properties. These dark windows break up the bright ones, like a flickering strand of Christmas lights. I worry about which windows will be dark tomorrow, like those of Battle Creek Books, which will close come March if they don’t find a buyer.

It frustrates me. Our downtown has good bones classic architecture, innovative parks, ingenious fountains, romantic bridges, and our rivers. Our city has a good soul artists, dreamers, chefs, entrepreneurs, immigrants, humanitarians, coaches.

If only we could crack the code on filling those bones with that soul.

It’s not for lack of people who want to set up shop here. I worry it’s a lack of people who think to shop here and eat here and hang out here. Battle Creek is our home and downtown is the front porch. Part of believing in Battle Creek is keeping the porch light on.

A few nights later, while driving home after my daughter’s game, I saw light spilling from a previously dark downtown window. Inside, a couple worked while a small child ran along the floorboards. There were tools and drop cloths and brushes.
nfl jersey for sale A Battle Creek downtown believer