WASHINGTON (CN) – Residents of Benton Harbor, Mich., claim the National Park Service is illegally allowing a private developer to convert 22 acres of a public park, including virtually all of its scenic dunes overlooking Lake Michigan, to become part of a private, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
The multiple plaintiffs also sued the Secretary of the Interior, Benton Harbor and the State of Michigan.
They claim the defendants violated environmental and procedural laws to allow the land grab at Jean Klock Park. The 73-acre, 91-year-old public park was built on land donated by John and Carrie Klock in memory of their daughter Jean, who died as a child.
The Klocks gave the land in perpetuity to the City of Benton Harbor, “expressly to preserve the dunes and lakeshore, and dedicated the park to ‘the children'” – not to the developer of a $430 million resort of second homes, the plaintiffs say.
They say Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment “coverts the commanding views of Lake Michigan” from the dunes and wants to build three holes of the Jack Nicklaus golf course on it. The defendants have no right to allow the private developer to do this, the plaintiffs say.
They are represented in Federal Court by Oliver Hall of Washington.