Benton Harbor residents invited to master plan workshops

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR (WNDU) - With a minimum of $500 million dollars of investment planned for the next decade, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad is hoping for a strong turnout at this week’s 20-year master plan workshops.

“Now it’s time to start throwing dirt, rubber meets the road, and making things happen,” said Muhammad.

The workshops have been taking place at The Secret Garden event center and have been facilitated by McKenna, the city-hired firm that will create the master plan.

“We’ve heard a lot about neighborhood revitalization, about the need for new housing. We’ve heard about equity and making sure new investment in the city benefits community residents and benefits the people of Benton Harbor who have worked so hard for so long to make this a great place to live,” said Paul Lippens, vice president of McKenna.

Residents have expressed hopes for beautification along the 2.5 mile-long Ox Creek, a hidden gem flowing through the city. A team from the University of Michigan plans to install an elevated trail along the creek in the future.

“So bikes, skateboards, roller skates, people strolling and walking, joggers, have a protected, you know, secure, lit way, you know. There’s going to be lighting. And so it’ll give you access to nature,” explained Craig Borum, professor at University of Michigan.

Benton Harbor native Deavondre Jones, founder of DanceSpire, said he didn’t know about the master plan meetings when he was growing up. Now he’s partnering to help facilitate the workshops this week.

“I had no clue that would be something that will impact my little brother and sister. So if you’re at home, and I understand that life is happening, but there’s a lot of opportunity for feedback. So your little cousin, your little sister, your child, whoever it is, your grandma or grandpa, let them know that there’s opportunity for us to share feedback,” said Jones.

The Wednesday workshop is happening at 7 p.m. at The Secret Garden located at 209 W. Main Street in Benton Harbor.

The Thursday workshop will take place at 7 p.m. at The Hawk’s Nest located at 165 E. Main Street in Benton Harbor.

Click here for more information on the Friday Benton Harbor peace walk.

Click here for more information on the Benton Harbor talent show.

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