BCU welcomes Kris Martin as new Urban Planner

March 29, 2023

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU), the economic development organization for the City of Battle Creek, welcomes Kris Martin as its new Urban Planner. Kris will manage BCU’s participation in Battle Creek’s efforts to naturalize the Kalamazoo River and help coordinate community development and placemaking projects throughout Battle Creek.

Kris grew up in Buchanan, Michigan and attended Michigan State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and political science. Prior to college, Kris spent a year as an AmeriCorps intern with the Hawaii Department of Forestry and Wildlife. Since 2011, Kris has worked as a Planner for the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, working on a variety environmental projects, economic development, and transportation projects. As part of his job, Kris collaborated with regional governments and community partners to promote and expanding the accessibility of water trails in Southwest Michigan. In addition, he served as the Administrator for the Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum, which works to educate and engage the community on environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic growth.

BCU President & CEO Joe Sobieralski said, “As BCU’s mission continues to expand, we needed someone who could coordinate with the City of Battle Creek and the many community stakeholders and serve as the point person for some of our community development projects such as the river naturalization effort, as well as downtown placemaking efforts. With more than a decade of experience, Kris has the knowledge and energy we were looking for. We are excited to welcome Kris to the BCU team and look forward to him hitting the ground running.”

In 2022, BCU received $13 million as part of the state budget to begin the process of returning the Kalamazoo River to a natural state which can support wildlife and provide recreational use. In the early 1960s, the US Army Corps of Engineers built a concrete channel for the river to prevent flooding downtown. The project has exceeded its life expectancy. Funds will be used for environmental assessment, property acquisition and demolishing old industrial facilities, including the former closed Graphic Packaging facility and parts of the TreeHouse Foods facility. The Corps of Engineers has been working with the City of Battle Creek for several years already and has begun work on a hydrology study to better understand the river’s future flow.



Established in 1972, Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the economic development arm for the City of Battle Creek and manages the Fort Custer Industrial Park. The Fort Custer Industrial Park is home to over 80 businesses, including 25 international companies, and employs over 13,000 people. BCU’s mission is to build a strong community by driving strategic investment and job creation. Visit BCUnlimited.org for more info.


Joe Sobieralski
President & CEO
Battle Creek Unlimited



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