Monday, February 06, 2012

Michigan LCV: No justice for Benton Harbor's Jean Klock Park

From the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (reprinted with permission)
Posted Jan. 30, 2012

When the conservation movement began at the turn of the last century, national, state, and local parks were established across the country. One of those was Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor, a half mile of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and sand dunes donated by John and Carrie Klock in 1917. Their wish: The shore and dunes would remain in their natural state for children to play on, swim in, and enjoy.*

Instead, their wish is being disregarded and will be largely replaced with gates, expensive homes, and a club for privileged golfers. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal challenging the federal permits that allowed the development. In effect, this almost literally paves the way for the development of the dunes.**

The Michigan Supreme Court also bears some of the weight of this outcome by choosing not to hear an appeal to a separate lawsuit challenging the city’s sale of the park to developers a year ago. Voters, please remember actions like this in the ballot booth in November. We will soon be keeping a closer eye on the Michigan Supreme Court for this very reason. Stay tuned for more soon.

If real life were an 80’s movie, this is the point when the developers would be thwarted by a spunky group of kids determined to save their favorite park. Unfortunately, the golf course is almost complete and Michigan citizens are left, once again, with the taste of bulldozer dust in their mouths due to a court ruling. If there is one ray of hope, it is that our state Supreme Court is an elected position and an educated electorate can prevent future attacks on the public trust.

*Read more from the Friends of Jean Klock Park.

**Click here for photos and more information on this issue.

Click here for more articles from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

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