Friday, July 31, 2009

Harbor Shores' claim of altruism is ridiculous

Editor, (7/18 HPalladium)

In response to Karla Tacy's letter on Wednesday, "Jean Klock Park revitalization is a joy," all I can say is enjoy it while you can. According to Benton Harbor City Manager Richard Marsh, it will soon cost "outsiders" like Ms. Tacy $8 to drive through the park. City residents may only have to pay half that much - a mere $4 more than they have ever had to pay in the past. It remains to be seen whether even that will be sufficient when special events such as golf tournaments and corporate picnics take place. The majority of us should probably start getting used to the idea of being outsiders at JKP.

Once again, Ms. Tacy repeats the myth that those of us who are against the taking of invaluable and irreplaceable public land by private developers are "opposed to the Harbor Shores project." This comes as no surprise considering the amount of money the developers have spent in perpetuating misconceptions, as to their motives as well as ours. The city's attorneys claim that our aim is to "sap the life blood" out of the project. This kind of absurd rhetoric has little value other than giving me the idea for a Halloween costume.

The biggest myths of all are that Harbor Shores' motives are primarily altruistic, and that private control, which effectively amounts to ownership, of the city's entire lakefront is its only hope for salvation. We all know that money is behind almost everything, and that it has pretty much always been that way. Harbor Shores' insistence and considerable investment in pretending otherwise would raise red flags in a community not quite as brain dead as this one apparently is.

Those of us who have invested virtually all of our financial resources, not to mention our lives, in the revitalization of Benton Harbor have not only the right but a responsibility to oppose the blatant theft of our greatest asset.

As for responsibility, when Mr. Marsh was questioned at a hearing in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, he had to acknowledge that he had never even read the Harbor Shores proposal. "We have lawyers for that," he said. And Commissioner Ricky Hill's repeated assertions that not only has he never read it, but he would vote for it again, should tell you all you need to know about our city government.

Money may make the world go 'round, but Harbor Shores is giving Ms. Tacy the runaround.

Unless, that is, Ms. Tacy is connected to Tacy Bros. Excavating of Coloma, which is employed by Harbor Shores. In that case, it is Ms. Tacy who is giving the rest of us the runaround.

Scott Elliott

Harbor Shores course is destined to fail

Editor, (7/19)

Try as I may I still cannot see the justification for the Harbor Shores development in Benton Harbor. I do realize that in the process of building the new golf course they did manage to clean up some contaminated property. That is a plus.

In my estimation there is no way that a golf course can attract enough outsiders in order to have a positive economic effect on the city of Benton Harbor. After all, that was the entire purpose of the project in the first place. The downside is the area having to sacrifice some valuable park land.

In my opinion the heyday of golf is past and many courses are now being converted into other uses, mostly residential subdivisions.

You can attach as many famous names to the project as you can find, but I still feel it is a project that has an uphill fight to be successful. Maybe I am a lone wolf out here howling at the moon, but this is the way I feel.

Charles Knapp