black autonomy network community organization
working for economic and social justice in Benton Harbor, MI
Monday, August 11, 2008
County is golf course rich already
Economic advantage not worth the price
As a former Berrien County resident, I read the online version of The H-P, so I came across your recent article on Jean Klock Park. I realize this issue has become quite a contest between those who recognize the significance of tax revenues and economic development for Benton Harbor, and those who recognize the intent of the donation of the land to the city many years ago.
I agree, sadly, that this challenge to the developmental redetermination of the Jean Klock Park bequest must continue. This quest to develop another golf course in Berrien County is puzzling to me when I realize the county is golf course rich already.
Access to Lake Michigan on behalf of the public is all too rare, and parks have been the way to bequeath that right of access to multiple generations of the public. It seems quite apparent that general access will be far more severely restricted to the public if this plan goes through, but economic livelihoods are inviting, too, and welcomed for severely depressed Benton Harbor and Michigan.
I just wonder where the Sand Dune Preservation Act of 1978 comes into play. I look at Warren State Park, the dunes near Bridgman and St. Joe, and remember how much work went into protecting beaches and access to them from the contemporary and limited gain from sand mining – also seen by many as a Berrien County economic advantage. What is the difference between the actions taken then and the actions promoted today?
I cannot dismiss the intrinsic value of open beach land to present and future residents and visitors to Michigan. Clearly, that is something I share with the original Jean Klock bequest. I feel that this proposal is akin to public condemnation of privately owned residentialproperty for private enterprise profit.