Benton Harbor Emergency Manager changes Jean Klock Park hours – again


I can’t figure this out. You’ll recall that I recently blogged about Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joseph Harris restricting access to Jean Klock Park by changing the hours of operation. The change happened in May but flew under the radar until Michigan Messenger’s Eartha Jane Melzer reported on it.

Now, it turns out, Joe Harris has changed the park’s hours again.

A May order by Benton Harbor’s emergency manager changing the hours of operation for Jean Klock Park has the Friends of Jean Klock Park up in arms.

But Emergency Manager Joseph Harris said the point is moot because he has changed the parks’ hours to almost what they used to be. Harris said he made the change about two weeks ago.

Carol Drake, a founder of the organization, said in a news release this week that Harris’ May order violated all of the following: the original deed that gave the park to the city, a 2004 consent judgment, the city charter and the lease agreement between the city and Harbor Shores.

Drake and Friends co-founder Clellen Bury sued the city and Harbor Shores a few years ago on the grounds that the golf course violated a 2004 consent agreement that said the park must be open for public use.

According to Harris’ order posted on the city’s website and signed May 4, the park is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 1 through Sept. 30 and is closed all other times.

Harris has since changed the hours to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., but an order to that effect has not been posted to the city’s website.

First, why change the hours in the first place? Second, why change them back? Third, why change them back but not publish the order on the City’s website where orders are published?

Here’s the best part of the story:

Drake said the hours posted at the park were changed as she spoke with a TV reporter at Jean Klock Park Tuesday. When they arrived, there were two sets of park hours posted – a sign that gave the park’s old hours, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and another posted in the window of the ticket booth that gave the new hours, Drake said.

As Drake was speaking with the reporter, a person from the city came and took the sign posted in the window down.

The clown show in Benton Harbor continues…