Harbor Shores Featured in New Brownfield Flip Video

Agency: Environmental Quality

December 19, 2017

Susan Wenzlick, MDEQ Brownfield Communications Coordinator, wenzlicks@michigan.gov, 231-876-4422
Tiffany Brown, MDEQ Public Information Officer, brownt22@michigan.gov, 800-662-9278

LANSING, Mich.  A new Brownfield Flip video released by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) shows the transformation of a blighted, 570-acre industrial corridor near Lake Michigan into public recreation and a golf course community. See the new video at www.youtube.com/michigandeq.

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.

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.

The MDEQ partners with communities to protect public health and the environment and revitalize contaminated property. MDEQ grants and loans pay for environmental investigation and cleanup on brownfields. Brownfields are vacant or abandoned properties with known or suspected environmental contamination.

Partnerships between MDEQ and communities have created $4 billion in private investment and 29,000 new jobs over the life of the Brownfield Redevelopment Program. For each grant or loan dollar invested by the MDEQ in protecting residents and the environment, an average of $23 is invested in the state’s economy. When brownfields are redeveloped, property values increase both on the revitalized site and on other nearby properties. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/deqbrownfields.