Communities to be asked to tell their vision for Twin Cities Harbor

What does it take to create vibrant, prosperous waterfront communities? 

Community members, local government officials, and other partners will be asked to share their visions in the creation of a strategy for the Twin Cities Harbor. 

The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes has awarded a $75,000 grant to create a plan for the harbor as it works on the Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project with Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and St. Joseph Charter Township.

In a series of meetings, community members will be asked to suggest investments and improvements they believe would contribute to the best use the waterfront. Participants will be asked to offer ideas for amenities and improvements they feel would generate more waterfront activity and improve their community.

The Office of the Great Lakes and Michigan Sea Grant have been invited to facilitate the meetings. A facilitated planning process that is open to the public, known as a charrette, will take place at Kinexus in Benton Harbor Sept 19. A three-day design charrette with multiple community engagement meetings will take place Oct. 9-11 at Kinexus. That session will include a final presentation on the preferred alternative.

Officials say the implementation of this shared vision "will increase public confidence, participation, and support in the community as well as economic, cultural, social, and environmental community sustainability, adding value to the harbor."
From November 2018 through January 2019 a final design report that documents the shared vision for Twin Cities Harbor will be created and then presented in a public forum. In February through March, 2019 focus groups will meet to discuss the governance structures that need to be put in place to implement the vision.

Learn more about the project on the program’s Facebook page  and Michigan Sea Grant’s project webpage, or by contacting project lead Don Carpenter (248-763-4099) or Emily Finnell (517-284-5036).

Source: Michigan Office of the Great Lakes
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Kathy Jennings is the managing editor of Southwest Michigan's Second Wave. She is a freelance writer and editor.