|Jean Klock Park FAQ|
The proposed investment in Jean Klock Park will restore the beach to the vibrant amenity that it once was. It will provide the opportunity for easy access with a new entrance road, extra parking and a shorter walking distance to the beach. Additional outdoor activity will be provided adding to the popularity of Jean Klock Park.
The proposed three holes of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course will be on the east side of the dunes replacing the existing parking lot and will not take any land away any of the beachfront property. The holes have been designed to fit into the landscape and enhance the natural beauty of this magnificent parkland.
City of Benton Harbor Public Comment Period
Harbor Shores responses to April 17, 2008, Public Hearing
Click here to download the responses to April 17th Public Hearing.
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April 2, 2008 to May 17,2008
Click here to download the Jean Klock Park Conversion and Mitigation Proposal.
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How will Jean Klock Park be impacted by Harbor Shores?
The Harbor Shores developers and the City of Benton Harbor have tentatively reached an agreement to maximize the use of 22.11 acres of existing Jean Klock Park, presently used mainly for parking. This area is proposed for three holes of a public golf course that will serve as a catalyst for community improvements. In exchange for the use of the existing park area the park system will be expanded by over 40 acres. The expanded area will be connected by a linear path and trailway system.
The proposed linear system will enhance the overall recreational viability of the park and the community by creating world-class park amenities that will be free to public and easily accessible. Amenities of this park system will include viewing platforms, bike racks, picnic tables, benches, trash receptacles, grills, boat launches, and canoe/kayak launches.
What will change within the Existing Park?
In place of the access drive and inland parking lot, Harbor Shores proposes a trail and picnic system leading up to the wetlands. The proposed trail system, which expands and improves the existing trail at the southwest corner of the current parking lot, will be designed and built to be open and inviting to the public, including signage and Park maps. If approved, Park improvements will be ADA accessible and will include park benches, picnic tables and trash receptacles.
The proposed trail system will lead to viewing platforms to be built next to the wetlands area (presently inaccessible to the public) both within the existing Park area as well as on new acreage that will be added to the existing park along M-63. The existing pavilion located near the parking lot will be relocated to provide shade, views of the wetlands and a venue for community events.
Harbor Shores will also renovate the existing bathhouse, including new water service, sewage disposal and sidewalks to make the facility ADA accessible. The existing masonry will be repaired inside and out. The interior will be renovated to meeting ADA requirements along with new lighting, windows, bathroom stalls and facilities.
Other proposed improvements include beach volleyball courts, park plaza space, sidewalks, signage, bike racks, trees, a gate house, lighting and other utility improvements. A trail head with paved parking, interpretive wayfinding signage, drinking fountains and benches will be located here and at several other locations within the overall trail system.
Finally, Harbor Shores has also agreed with the City to use a portion of the proceeds of the golf course to fund a transportation service from residential areas to the park.
What new Amenities will be added with the New Parcels?
The park will be expanded to include more than 40 additional acres that will be connected by a linear path and trail system. Highlights of the new linear path and trailway system include more than 12 miles of trail system to connect the eight Mitigation Parcels (A – H) to the existing park. Additionally, this park system will connect to downtown and residential areas, including existing city-owned and maintained parks. Ordinances governing the City of Benton Harbor’s existing sidewalk and bike path system do not exclude any type of public usage, so accessibility will be easily maintained.
Four Trail Heads will be created throughout the linear park system outside of the existing Jean Klock Park. These Trail Heads will direct users through signage and will provide demand-generated facilities such as parking spaces, drinking fountains and restroom facilities.
Will the dunes or existing marsh be removed as a result of the golf holes within the park?
No. Part of the natural attraction of Jean Klock Park is the dunes and the marsh. The dunes represent a significant aesthetic value and removing them would not only diminish the natural beauty of the park, but the quality of the golf holes as well.
The improved bathing and beach areas will remain open for public use and will be untouched, allowing families to continue enjoying the beach.
Will there be a golf holes on the beach?
No. The proposed golf hole locations are all on the east side of the dunes.
Why does Harbor Shores need to build a golf course in the park?
Golf is a requirement for Harbor Shores. The golf course will serve as catalyst to stimulate development of land that has been barren for more than 20 years. Without an outstanding golf course, Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment, Inc. sees no way to bring needed investment into the Benton Harbor Community.
“Ordinary golf courses today are struggling financially. To be viable, a course must attract golfers from outside the immediate vicinity. Mr. Nicklaus puts his signature on only the very best courses and they must have distinctive elements. Harbor Shores made it clear the development had to be in the Benton Harbor city limits. Mr. Nicklaus saw this location, with holes in and around Lake Michigan, as meeting his stringent Jack Nicklaus Signature Course guidelines.” – Timothy Keeny, EVP Nicklaus Design
Aren’t there enough golf courses in the Benton Harbor area?
A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is not just “a new golf course”; it is a destination for golfers and a keystone to revitalizing Benton Harbor and the surrounding communities. The golf course increases land values and will be an economic enabler for the Twin Cities, one that increases the value of surrounding real estate, creates local jobs that cannot be moved overseas, increases real property tax base, and drives incremental consumer spending in the local area.
Will public access to Jean Klock be limited as a result of the improvements to the park?
Harbor Shores’ goal is to actually increase the amount of public access to Jean Klock Park. The park has potential to provide a multitude of recreational opportunities including volleyball, concerts, and water sports, in addition to golf.
What are the “improvements” to Jean Klock Park? What is the park “expansion”? Isn’t Harbor Shores taking away parkland from the public?
For the use of 22 acres of non-bluff, non-beach land in Jean Klock Park for three golf holes, Harbor Shores has conveyed over 40 acres (“expansion properties” that are estimated to be worth $1.274 Million) to the City of Benton Harbor to be added to Jean Klock Park. An additional $500,000 will be invested on the expansion property to be improved, with preservation and reclamation of wetlands and natural vegetation preserved by conservation easements. The expansion properties will increase the water frontage acreage and provide additional accessibility to Jean Klock Park property along the Paw Paw River.
How will Benton Harbor benefit from Harbor Shores using the Park?
In addition to the $1 million dollars of park improvements and expanded park acreage valued at more than $1.3 million, the City of Benton Harbor will be compensated by Harbor Shores $30,000 per year (with a 1% increase per year, for 35 years). Harbor Shores has also committed to maintenance of Jean Klock Park for the duration of the lease agreement. Currently, park maintenance suffers due to a lack of tax base in the area. Harbor Shores will also agree to make road improvements to Benton Harbor roads throughout the development in excess of $2.7 million.
“Jean Klock Park is owned by the City of Benton Harbor. For years, residents have directed the city commission to use the park to create jobs, while improving the facility’s access and recreational opportunities. When all is said and done, Jean Klock Park will be expanded by more than 40 acres with over $1,000,000 in improvements to the park and ongoing financial resources dedicated to the City and the Park for road improvements and park maintenance. That by itself makes Harbor Shores a worthwhile project, but the tax base and employment created for future generations makes this a once in a lifetime opportunity.” – Pete Mitchell, Benton Harbor City Manager
Will local organizations still be able to conduct weddings, baptisms and other events at Jean Klock Park?
Yes. Church services, concerts, family reunions – any event that was held in the past (and more) can be held at the improved Jean Klock Park. With the facilities improvements and proper maintenance, the events will be even more pleasant for individual participants.
Will public funds be used in the Harbor Shores development?
Yes. Only through the leveraging of significant private investment is this possible. Harbor Shores is a non-profit organization dependent on private and public partnerships for its success. Millions in private funds are teaming up with public funds available through state and federal programs designed to improve local economies and clean up environmental liabilities. The sole motivation of Harbor Shores is to transform the community to create opportunity for an improved quality of life for all our citizens.
Will Harbor Shores be sensitive to the natural environment and endangered species?
Yes. “Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment Inc. (HSCRI) will maintain natural areas (non-golf and carry areas) in the golf course through the preparation and implementation of vegetative, fertilizer and pesticide management plans, avoiding encroachment into natural areas containing protected plant species such as Rose Pink (Sabatia angularis).” – JF New, Management Plan for Endangered Species
“During construction HSCRI will have its consultants on site to monitor grading activities and identify sensitive natural areas to avoid and buffer. After the golf course construction is completed, the HSCRI golf course management company will be provided with a vegetation management plan including a map identifying sensitive natural areas, and vegetation manipulation in these natural areas will be limited to the cutting of woody vegetation obstructing golf play.” – JF New, Management Plan for Endangered Species
Jack Nicklaus has designed many golf courses with high sensitivity to maintaining the natural environment and accommodating natural flora and fauna. The result is a more beautiful course, and a total nature experience.