Saturday, October 11, 2008

How Do You Rape a City?

An unidentified woman walks towards some of the expensive homes
being built near Jean Klock Park on the shore of Lake Michigan in

Park Protestors Arrested in Standoff with Police

The Whirlpool Corporation-backed Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment, Inc., started destroying the natural resources of Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor, removing 90-year old trees from the Lake Michigan shore and destroying some of the park's dunes to create an asphalt parking lot.

Residents who filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C. in August to stop the construction of an exclusive private golf course in Benton Harbor's only beachfront park, rushed to Jean Klock Park with other community activists as soon as they saw the bulldozers.

Three Benton Township residents sat on downed, historic cottonwood trees destroyed by the bulldozers and were arrested for civil disobedience.After the arrests, the developers continued the destruction of the park by cutting away some of the southern dunes.

All of this destruction is part of the illegal conversion of Jean Klock Park. A federal lawsuit is pending. The plaintiffs filed a motion for a restraining order to halt the destruction. For more informatino, visit and Protect Jean Klock Park,
Excerpted from a press release from Defense of Place

How Do You Rape a City?

The way a city is raped is to take everything out of it that is of some value. Benton Harbor was a city of businesses, of restaurants, of schools and factories. You take out all the local busineses and bring in new development, but they come in with their rules and the local people don't have any jobs, don't have a chance for anything. If the downtrodden people don't adhere to the new rules, they come in with law enforcement. Do that sound like a city we know? As for what happened in Jean Klock park, "how can you trespass on your own park? How can you be arrested for trespassing in your own city, in a public park, on a public beach on the lakefront? The city has been taken over, given over by city officials, and now we are the trespassers.
- MC, a community activist