Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project Gets A Boost

Benton Harbor City Commissioners have agreed to a joint meeting between officials from Benton Harbor, the city of St. Joseph, and St. Joseph Township to discuss the Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project. The project is an effort, years in the making, to plan for the long-term development of the harbor in the area with all three communities cooperating. At a Monday meeting, the Benton Harbor City Commission heard from a representative of Michigan’s Office of Great Lakes on a series of meetings through 2018 and 2019 that led to the plan for all three municipalities to work together. Mayor Marcus Muhammad said they should talk.

“The first thing’s first,” Muhammad said. “Allow for the decision makers, elected leaders, high level staff, to come together and begin a conversation.”

The Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project focuses on development, transportation, connectivity, environmental health, and collaboration. Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats was skeptical and said the project will lead to the city’s portion of the harbor being taken over and residents left in the dust.

“So we move those people out of downtown, and we make it better for who? Ask New Buffalo, downtown New Buffalo, who they made it better for.”

Mayor Muhammad said a meeting of officials from the three affected communities would just be a start. The long-term vision of the harbor project is for a governing body to be set up and for the three municipalities to work its ideas into their master plans. The first meeting of local officials will be this month or next month.