Echoing the strong support of the Benton Harbor City Planning and Economic Development Committee’s action last week, tonight the Benton Harbor City Commission, at its regularly scheduled meeting, has provided a green light for advancement of plans by Whirlpool Corporation for a major new housing development in the city, which goes next to the city’s planning commission and zoning officials.
The City Commission tonight voted in support of the proposed 80-unit multi-family housing development slated to be constructed on Riverview Drive, as proposed last week before the Planning and Economic Development Committee. The $22-million project, which is scheduled to open in late summer of 2022, is a key component for Whirlpool Corporation and the city’s shared goal of supporting housing that will be attractive to a diverse pool of candidates and residents. The program is expected to assist Whirlpool Corporation in recruiting high quality employees, including under-represented minorities.
Mayor Marcus Muhammed says, “Several months ago I was in a meeting with Whirlpool Chairman and CEO Marc Bitzer and we were discussing his plans for the Equality Pledge, and I asked him to consider making this investment into the city of Benton Harbor.” The Mayor adds, “We want to grow our city and we want a place that welcomes all people to live in our community, including the under-represented minority colleagues who will be joining Whirlpool, and the graduates of our local high school as they consider returning home. This waterfront facility can be the magnet to attract a diverse set of residents, proud to call Benton Harbor home.”
At the request of the Mayor, representatives of Whirlpool Corp. began meeting last year with staff and elected officials to conceive and finalize the amenities that would be needed for the project. The project is expected to generate around $100,000 annually for the City of Benton Harbor Income Tax Fund, and will have unique amenities including activity space and a resident meeting room with outdoor space looking out over the Harbor.
Fourth Ward Commissioner Ruthie Haralson says, “A vibrant city to call home is a beautiful thing,” and adds, “I look forward to welcoming this development to further strengthen opportunities for our community where everyone is able to enjoy and be a part of the City of Benton Harbor. I am proud to welcome existing and new residents into the Fourth Ward of this community.”
Third Ward Commissioner Sharon Henderson says, “This project is the beginning of a positive development through a shared vision with community leaders and partners to foster successful revitalization that values culture, and not just economic activity, and it will help to ensure lasting change.”
Public Safety and Recreation Committee Chair and City Commissioner Ron Singleton said in his support of the project, “While all of our residents will benefit from this project, I am especially pleased Whirlpool has set aside funds to support the City of Benton Harbor Comprehensive Planning process. This project will establish a vehicle for its Global Design teams to work shoulder to shoulder with the community on identifying and setting in motion plans for the neighborhoods within it.”
You can read more about the plan as originally proposed in this story posted last week on Moody on the Market: