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Michigan Ag News Headlines
Harbor Shores Featured in New Brownfield Flip Video
Michigan Ag Connection - 01/03/2018

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) released the fourth in a series of videos showcasing its brownfield redevelopment projects. Brownfields are properties that are known or believed to be contaminated. MDEQ helps communities clean up and safely reuse brownfields with financial incentives and technical assistance.

Benton Harbor experienced its share of challenges when manufacturing companies built in the city to support the auto industry shuttered. After decades of abandonment, a plan was developed to address the industrial blight.

This new Brownfield Flip video released by the MDEQ shows the transformation of a blighted, 570-acre industrial corridor near Lake Michigan into public recreation and a golf course community.

Before reuse could be considered, three million square feet of abandoned manufacturing buildings and some of Benton Harbor's most serious environmental contamination had to be cleared. Cleanup or protective barriers were needed on over 570 acres of contamination, and 140,000 tons of garbage was removed from the Paw Paw River and across the site. The MDEQ and US Environmental Protection Agency spent a combined $19 million on cleanup, and the city contributed $3.2 million in future tax revenues.

Harbor Shores, the new development, was transformative. The project includes a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, housing, a 12-mile walking / bicycle trail system, new public access to the Paw Paw River, and improvements to Jean Klock Park, a popular local beach on Lake Michigan. Unlike most brownfield projects, this one was developed by a non-profit organization, Harbor Shores Development. Revenues that exceed Harbor Shores' operating expenses are returned to the community for youth programs like First Tee and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor. The downtown is active with people shopping or eating out, and the tumbleweeds on Main Street have disappeared.

Each video in the series will feature a different brownfield redevelopment which has transformed communities, created neighborhood destinations, or resulted in recreational opportunities. Other recent videos feature the Bay City Riverfront, Grand Rapids Downtown Market, and Traverse City's Grand Traverse Commons.

For more information about MDEQ brownfield redevelopment incentives, visit www.michigan.gov/deqbrownfields or contact the Brownfield Redevelopment Unit at 517-284-5113.

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