Panhandling concerns discussed at Battle Creek workshop

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Battle Creek city leaders hosted a workshop with the public to address ongoing issues with panhandling.

The Tuesday evening workshop allowed city commissioners to hear from the public about the issue and discuss possible solutions, like creating an area where panhandling is off limits.  The size of the zone, and which buildings it would include is still up for debate.

Commissioners say they've heard from businesses complaining about losing money from customers who don't like panhandlers.  Some people say they've become fearful of aggressive panhandling.   There are also concerns that people are being harassed when they go to public places like City Hall.

"You should be able to go into a public building such as City Hall or a church without being solicited," said Elaine Hunsicker, executive director of Haven of Rest Ministries.

Another workshop is scheduled to take place in roughly a month.

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