Ox Creek Corridor Restoration and Revitalization

Learn more about the effort to restore Ox Creek and how it can become an asset for the Benton Harbor Community.

Review the Draft Ox Creek Strategic Plan

On September 16, 2021, the Benton Harbor City Commission passed a resolution with an associated memo that together outlined a vision for the Ox Creek corridor:

 “Once cleaned up environmentally to where the creek could once again support fish and wildlife, and redeveloped, the Ox Creek corridor could become an asset of beauty, a source of expanded recreational opportunities, and could add significantly to the City’s tax base.”Excerpt from the City Resolution Introductory Memo

 “The water quality should be returned to a level where it can support fish and wildlife and where our youth can play, canoe, and kayak in the water without fear.”  - Excerpt from the City Resolution

 “The city envisions a vibrant recreational and economic Ox Creek corridor with bike paths, lighted walkways, pedestrian bridges, outdoor classrooms, and new commercial development and housing opportunities. The corridor would include Hall Park – the city’s largest park – and the Arts District. Restoration creates the potential for redevelopment of the Ox Creek corridor to have a significant positive impact on the community through its recreation potential, and as a catalyst for economic development and housing not only in the valley but throughout the city. The improved creek and a new, nonmotorized trail will link Benton Charter Township’s commercial and retail area and Benton Harbor’s downtown, including the Harbor Shores development and Lake Michigan.”      - Excerpt from the City Resolution

 As the city resolution states, the community desires a creek and corridor that can support fish and wildlife and be an asset of beauty and recreational opportunities to both residents and visitors. Through the resolution, conversations with the community, planning efforts, and an influx of state and federal funding, a vision of a revitalized creek and city is taking shape.

To help realize this vision, the City of Benton Harbor has formed the Ox Creek Collaborative Partnership, which works together to apply for funding and build projects that meet the community’s needs. This partnership includes the City of Benton Harbor; Abonmarche, Inc.; Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC); Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE); and the University of Michigan (UM),

 The partnership has put together a plan to guide the future of restoration and revitalization of Ox Creek that unifies the existing suite of ongoing and planned projects into one vision that can build community support, foster partnerships among local and external organizations, and facilitate larger investments from public and private entities.