BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. - Berrien County Community Development and Cornerstone Alliance have been approved by all necessary entities to move forward in submitting a grant application that will add new public infrastructure in the harbor. The Berrien County Commission saw a presentation from Berrien County Community Development and Cornerstone Alliance on the impact of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Waterways Program grant. Berrien County Commissioners approved the request to apply for the grant in a unanimous vote.

The DNR Waterways Program grant provides funding for design and construction of infrastructure that creates new public recreational access at four locations in the St. Joseph River. Berrien County Community Development will apply for the DNR Waterways grant for infrastructure upgrades along the St. Joseph River. Cornerstone Alliance will provide matching funds required for grant application, up to $150,000.

Dan Fette, Community Development Director for Berrien County notes, “Berrien County is happy to lead this effort and to partner with Cornerstone Alliance. The outcome of this grant will provide new recreational possibilities for local residents as well as visitors to St. Joseph and Benton Harbor areas. It will also allow any of the Berrien County communities upriver to install kayak launches and create a unique water trail experience. This grant application, along with the CZM grant that was submitted in December, is another example of our local governments and community organizations working together to improve the quality of life in our region.”

If the grant is funded, a total of four sites along the St. Joseph River will be constructed. The sites will host bike racks, a kayak launch, and allow for multi-modal transportation along the waterway. This infrastructure maximizes use of the area’s greatest natural resource in order to improve mobility, placemaking, business growth and community health.  Further detail on all four sites will be distributed via the Cornerstone Alliance Facebook page in the coming days. 

The project was unanimously approved by the St. Joseph City Commission on February 11. Berrien County Community Development and Cornerstone Alliance will submit the grant application before deadline of ​April 1, 2019.​ Announcement of award will be made by June 2019.