In 1917, John and Carrie Klock deeded a half mile of Lake Michigan frontage to the
City of Benton Harbor Michigan in memory of their deceased daughter Jean. Their
gift consisted of 90 acres of globally rare natural resources that included Great Lakes
Dunes, a Great Lakes Marsh and interdunal wetlands. The donated land was named
Jean Klock Park and was dedicated "FOR THE CHILDREN" - "in perpetuity" -
survived but in 2003 came the beginning of a new, and at the time, unforeseen
threat. The city announced an interest in selling 4 acres of the park’s property along
Grand Boulevard for a lake-front residential development. A lawsuit took place
that was settled out of court allowing the development in exchange for permanent
protections of the remaining 73 acres of the park.
Within a matter of months it was discovered that there was a secret and far bigger
interest in developing the park. That interest and ultimate threat to the park was of
the Whirlpool Corporation’s desire for a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course and a
glitzy second home community that would become the “Harbor Shores Golf and
The Friends of Jean Klock Park challenged the Michigan Court decisions to allow
three holes of a privately owned golf course to be constructed inside JKP. We
continued to allege that the City of Benton Harbor Michigan had entered into an
illegal lease agreement with Harbor Shores for the Whirlpool driven Jack Nicklaus
Signature Golf Club. By entering into this agreement the City had violated not only
the terms of the 1917 Klock deed, but also a 2004 Consent Judgment that was
intended to protect this public park from further privately owned development.
These atrocious rulings set a disastrous precedent that threatens every deed restricted
public land in the country!
The park had further development restrictions due to a federal Land and Water
Conservation Fund grant the city received for improvements to JKP. With the help
of Michigan's Governor Granholm and Congressman Fred Upton, every layer of
state and federal protection that was placed on Jean Klock Park was politically
Unfortunately we lost our appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court. But we believe
that history will show that our cause was just, and right, and that in time the public
parkland that was lost will be returned.
Friends of Jean Klock Park | PO Box 8988 | Benton Harbor, MI 49023
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.savejeanklockpark.org
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