Within the urban boundaries of the City of Benton Harbor, MI lie prized coastal wetlands and a superb 90 acre parcel of Lake Michigan property. This prized jewel includes a portion of Jean Klock Park, land that was donated to be parkland in perpetuity by the Klock family. This locally rare coastal ecosystem is threatened by a proposal that includes a golf course, hotels and residential development. Citizens are concerned about the negative impact the proposal will have on this fragile Great Lakes ecosystem.
This is not the first time this property has been threatened by development. In 2003, the group Friends of Jean Klock Park (FJKP) formed to prevent the sale of a portion of the city owned park for a residential development. Their efforts resulted in a lawsuit and a settlement that allowed a small portion of property to be developed in exchange for preserving the remaining park property.
A portion of the park that was to be preserved, along with an additional 100 acres of nearby coastal wetlands along the Paw Paw River, is now part of the large scale development proposal. The development would impact the park’s low lying marsh, coastal wetland areas and a trail behind and along the ridge of this unique dune property.
FJKP would like to see the park preserved and used as an outdoor classroom for area school children and the community. Such a use would draw tourists to a growing list of ecotourism locations throughout the state. To find out more or to help preserve the natural heritage of the park visit www.savejeanklockpark. org.