Benton Harbor, Michigan is a predominately African American community with most of its citizens living in poverty. When Whirlpool closed their factory there last year, the residents were left with practically nothing -- an exception being Jean Klock Park.
Jean Klock Park is half mile of globally rare freshwater sand dunes that had been gifted to the city of Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1917 by John and Carrie Klock in memory of their daughter Jean Klock "FOR THE CHILDREN" - "in perpetuity" - "FOREVER." Before he deeded the land, John Klock sent a letter titled, "It Is More Blessed To Give Than To Receive", to the Mayor and Common Council of the City of Benton Harbor. In that letter, John Klock made the intent of the donation clear: "It is our wish that the lakefront always be preserved in its natural state and be a playground for the children and a bathing beach for all the people." And for nearly a hundred years it remained a pristine public park for all to enjoy.
Newly elected Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has appointed an emergency manager to go into impoverished Benton Harbor, essentially stripping the city's elected officials of all their power. This Governor-appointed emergency manager now has the power to sell Jean Klock Park. The City has already allowed a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Club and a glitzy second home community to be built in the park. The dunes are now home to three holes of a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. And now the Emergency Manager can sell what remains of the park.
The only thing standing between the transfer of the park from the people of Benton Harbor is that it must be approved by the National Park Service. Tell the National Park Service to deny the transfer in defense of the land, the citizens of Benton Harbor, and the Klock family!
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