Monday, October 20, 2008

City has eye on selling park to highest bidder

"Cornerstone, the CWCC and the CPC are no more separate altruistic entities than are the tentacles of an octopus."

Editor, (HP, 10/19)

A recent Herald-Palladium editorial suggests that a court ordered temporary restraining order against further desecration of Jean Klock Park while a federal lawsuit is pending could have “killed” Harbor Shores.

This has no basis in fact.

Judge Collyer, who denied the TRO, nevertheless remarked more than once during the hearing that since most major construction will likely be halted by weather until spring, any threat to the over all project would be negligible. On the other hand, the developers will now have ample opportunity to wipe out most, if not all of the park’s remaining natural and historic features before the suit is decided. She also expressed amazement that the Benton Harbor city manager, who testified, was not conversant with Harbor Shores’ plan.

The developers claim that an exclusive view of the lake from the proposed golf course is essential to the entire project’s success. The benefits, they claim, will eventually trickle down to the people of Benton Harbor. This, too, has no basis in fact.

The 22 acres of JKP in question are arguably the most valuable undeveloped lakefront property between Chicago and Saugatuck. Yet it has been appraised at less than $1 million when 22 times that amount would be a bargain. If the golf course fails, which is a distinct possibility, particularly in this economy, the land will supposedly revert back to the city, but not JKP. And it will no longer be under the “protection” of the National Park Service. The perpetually broke city would then presumably be free to sell it for development to the lowest bidder. Guess who?

Harbor Shores does not need the park land. Benton Harbor does. Cornerstone, the CWCC and the CPC are no more separate altruistic entities than are the tentacles of an octopus.

Those who are trying to protect JKP at great personal sacrifice do not oppose Harbor Shores.

These are facts.

Scott Elliott Benton Harbor