Touring Downtown Battle Creek

Monday, February 18, 2013 1 No tags Permalink

Sunday late afternoon after running errands and whatnot, we tour a spin through downtown Battle Creek in an attempt to get rid of our headaches.

Downtown Battle Creek

Although it was quite cold with a stiff breeze, the sunshine was lovely. Ice on the edges of the river creaked and popped as we walked along.

Downtown Battle Creek

We looked around for used heroin needles, dead bodies and bums, but were surprised to not see any of those things. Perhaps it was just too cold? We did step over copious amounts of goose and duck fecal matter, though.

Downtown Battle Creek

The old Cereal City Museum is a mess of debris, with the pathway blocked off by fencing as they work on the new Science and Math Center.

Downtown Battle Creek

We talked about longtime Battle Creek business Ermisch Travel. They’ve always had a flair for doing up their big display windows. Continuing on down the block, Bob reminisced about shopping at New York Collection (can’t seem to find a website for that one).

Ermisch Travel

We do have a pile-up of parking lot snow around. Today’s forecast calls for 45 degrees and rain, moving into snow overnight with up to six inches possible. More snow tomorrow and Wednesday. We won’t see anywhere near 40 for the rest of the ten day forecast.

Downtown Battle Creek

This garbage can find asks so many questions. How did a single drawer wind up here? Was it deposited with the empty bottle of Jägermeister, or are those two separate items discarded? It remains a mystery.

Downtown Battle Creek

At the end of the day, neither of us were able to rid ourselves of our headache, but I always do appreciate seeing what’s happening in our lovely town. I did finish reading Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff. I highly recommend it if you live in Michigan; no matter what, the rest of the state is tied to that which occurs in Detroit. Not only that, but in many areas Battle Creek is actually a lot like Detroit.

I pulled up Sperling’s Best Places and did a Battle Creek/Detroit comparison.

  • Detroit has a population of 713,777 compared to Battle creek at 52,347.
  • Detroit’s population change is -28.15, compared to Battle Creek -3.73.
  • Their cost of living is lower at 79/100 compared to ours at 81/100.
  • We do better in household income, at $38,238 compared to $29,872 (for a family of four, 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, the rate at which many kinds of public assistance is offered, is $35,325).
  • Battle Creek has better air, at 82/100 compared to Detroit at 25.8/100.
  • Battle Creek has better water, at 72/100 compared to Detroit at 36/100.
  • We are tied at 10/100 for superfund sites (100 = best).
  • Detroit does better with physicians per capita at 261 compared to Battle Creek at 161 (national average is 261).
  • Detroit spends $5,660 per pupil for education, while Battle Creek spends $5114 (national average is $5,691). Their pupil/teacher ratio is 22.6; we are 17.8 (national average is 15.3).
  • There are 1,384 students per librarian in Detroit compared to 1,982 in Battle Creek (national average is 803). There are 424 students per counselor in Detroit compared to 606 in Battle Creek (national average is 513). Our graduation rates are much higher though, at 83 percent compared to 70.49 percent.

Where things get really sketchy is in the crime statistics. Everyone knows that things are crap in Detroit. Charlie LeDuff’s book is full of it. But get this. Violent crime in Detroit is rated at 10. The national average rating for violent crime is 4. Battle Creek is rated at 9 for violent crime. Detroit is rated at 8 for property crime. Battle Creek is 7, while the national average is 4. I don’t have anything clever to say about that. We’ve had issues with crime where I work, on our street, and on the streets where my coworkers live. It is simply a fact of life in Detroit and in Battle Creek. As goes Detroit, so goes the state.

1 Comment
  • Bob
    February 19, 2013

    Thanks for braving the cold and walking with me. Even though you had a headache and aren’t a big fan of winter temps we still had fun. Having spent the majority of my life in Battle Creek I can’t help but have a sentimental fondest for our town. And compared to other small towns Battle Creek, especially the downtown has always had the potential to be a friendly and inviting small town. I think the city biggest detraction has been that it is run by dishonorable, small minded people.

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