Monday, May 12, 2008

Letter to Editor of the Benton Spirit

The following is a section of a letter from 4/23/08 entitled What Constitutes Progress in Berrien County
To read entire letter, click "Harbor Shores", then the Letters to the Editor section.

...So, it is with great dismay that I have witnessed St. Joseph and Stevensville residents recently talking about why it is beneficial to all of them for the Harbor Shores development to take over 22.11 acres of Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park to be used for an unaffordable golf course in a county saturated with golf courses. And, I cannot understand why it is okay for the St. Joseph and Stevensville communities to have their beachfront parks in their entirety, but it is not the same right of the Benton Harbor residents to keep the gift of Jean Klock Park in its entirety as it was given. Why is it okay for them to sacrifice a portion of their park so those citizens in St. Joseph and Stevensville can continue to get rich off of the backs of the poor?

The excuse of the lack of the City of Benton Harbor’s financial ability to maintain Jean Klock Park was cited.

However, we cannot understand where the park revenues have been going. We know that the park rental fees, previous and future grants would definitely cover maintaining the park. So, was the declining appearance by design? Whose design? If they allowed the park to look rundown, would it be easier to sell the idea of relinquishing part of the park for more motives of greed? And, if they allowed the ridiculous under appraisal of the land, that would certainly justify the lease agreement for the promise of questionable benefit, right? As far as the current illegal driving on the beach and dunes at Jean Klock Park, if that cannot be successfully monitored and patrolled now, how will it be controlled once Harbor Shores is in charge? If those drivers suddenly stop their destruction, that raises other dubious motivations.

The Native American civilizations managed to live in North America for thousands of years valuing the land. Those cultures believed in using no more than they needed, cherishing all with which they resided and returning the environment as they encountered it so that it would continue to thrive as they had found it. For thousands of years, the land, water and air remained beautiful, clean and cherished.

Then the European explorers and settlers arrived. In a few hundred years their legacy, which continues today, has steadily worked to destroy the environment—all in the name of “progress”! Through greed, wasteful and exploitative hunting, excessive use and waste of natural resources while going for bigger and better machines, buildings, etc., we have managed to over-develop and pollute the land, water and air of our great continent and contributed to the over-development and pollution of the earth.....