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Economic Development

1/7/2020: St. Joseph Township excited about joint harbor project

Herald Palladium- It will take major communication and cooperation among officials from three communities to make the
Twin Cities Sustainable Harbor Project a success.
But if the long-talked about development spanning parts of Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and St. Joseph Township becomes a reality, it will bring all three municipalities in the region great benefits for years to come.
That was the message delivered Monday by a consultant on the project, and St. Joseph Township officials agreed.
“There’s not a huge spot of land (in St. Joseph Township), but if you develop the harbor, you’re going to draw other development. This is a regional project and it will be a plus for all of us,” St. Joseph Township Manager Denise Cook said at a board workshop.

10/16/2019: Will Twin Cities harbor plan float?

Herald Palladium - 

There is a great opportunity for the Twin Cities to catch a wave of growth along its waterfront over the next 20 years, according to a consultant who has been studying the issue for several months.

“You have a tremendous resource right in your backyard,” commented Don Carpenter, with Drummond Carpenter, conducting the final community discussion on the harbor plans at Kinexus in Benton Harbor on Tuesday.

The Twin Cities Harbor Sustainability Initiative, encompassing Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and St. Joseph Township, has been put together over the last 15 months with public gatherings, focus groups, meetings with government officials and other efforts to collect ideas for the waterfront. It is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Office of the Great Lakes in partnership with Michigan Sea Grant, Lawrence Technological University, the Harbor Conservancy and other groups.

10/11/2019: Final harbor study meetings set for Oct. 15

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Office of the Great Lakes has scheduled the meeting to further engage with community members and develop long-term, sustainable strategies that will enable the local communities to maximize the benefits of their harbor and waterfront assets.


2/25/2021: Paw Paw River Water Trail Project wins SWMPC award

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission recently honored the Paw Paw River Water Trail Project with its 2020 Graham Woodhouse Intergovernmental Effort Award.

The award is presented annually to projects that exemplify cooperation between and among governments, nonprofits and private entities. It was established to recognize and reward the partners who execute complex, regional problem solving that optimizes limited resources.


2/25/2021: Teri Sue Freehling honored with SWMPC leadership award

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission recently honored Teri Sue Freehling with its 2020 Welch-Lackey Leadership Award.

Freehling has been a SWMPC member since 2016. She became vice chair in 2018, and has been SWMPC chair since February 2020.

1/16/2020: Cass Bridge Replacement Project Draws Cooperative Acclaim

Moody on The Market - In a day and age when “governmental cooperation” is sometimes considered an oxymoron, especially at the national level, the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission continues to search out exemplary collaboration in Michigan’s Great Southwest through their annual Graham Woodhouse Intergovernmental Effort Award.

Last month when they conducted their most recent commission meeting to wrap up the year, the commission presented the award to the Sink Road Bridge Replacement Project in Pokagon Township of Cass County.


5/16/2020: Napier Avenue road diet approved

Herald Palladium - Napier Avenue, between the bridge over the St. Joseph River and 450 feet east of Union Avenue, is expected to be reduced from four to three lanes by the end of the year.

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners approved the second leg of the Napier Avenue project Thursday.

This page last updated on 9/26/2014.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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