Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2/16/09 HP Don't believe the hype from Harbor Shores (paraphrase)

Editor,
Public relations expert Howard Bragman states: "When perception exceeds reality, it's 'hype.'" This accurately describes Harbor Shores' "PR" practices. I could list many examples but will address the most current ones.
In, "Harbor Shores stays on course," The H-P quotes a few Harbor Shores (HS) partners. One alleges that legal actions taken regarding the use of Jean Klock Park (JPK) for a golf course are the reason for the "delays" in the project, and the actions are "against the project." The Friends of Jean Klock Park (FJKP)were not contactd for a response to these allegations.
Legal action was not taken "against the project." The purposes of the legal action taken by two members of the FJKP was: 1) to prevent the destruction of the park's natural resources, and 2) to preserve the public's heritage from privately owned development as set forth in the 1917 Klock family's deed to Benton Harbor and 2004 consent decree. The case to defend the deed and consent decree was dismissed in Berrien County Court on 8/22/08. The decision is being challenged in the Grand Rapids Court of Appeals.
Developers saying that that legal actions cause delays don't mention a glaring reality: They did not obtain the Army Corps of Engineers approval until 8/29/08 - a week after the county court decision. The developers then publicly admitted it was too late in the season to begin excavation of the dunes.
The hype is that the development would return JKP to its former glory by restoring the lovely tree-lined boulevard. And that the beach area won't be touched and the "ugly blacktop parking lot" behind the south dune would be "converted" into a golf course. Since then HS has obliterated shade trees, beach grass, and ripped out a boardwalk paid for with public taxes. The reality is a far cry from a restoration project since an equally "ugly blacktop parking lot" will cover the pristine beach area.
Nothing is preventing HS from destroying JKP, aside from the weather, or maybe the devastated economy. Is HS not confident of its legal right to build three golf holes in JKP?
Public support for FJKP is enormous. We vow to continue the fight to insure that JKP remains in public hands. Please visit us at: www.savejeanklockpark.org.

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