Benton Harbor City Commissioners have agreed to grant easements to the Berrien County Drain Commissioner for city-owned properties along Ox Creek. At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Duane Seats said the move was the first step toward allowing a wide-ranging cleanup of the Ox Creek drain system.
“They’re not asking us for anything up front,” Seats said. “They’re just asking us right now to play a part with the township, Bainbridge Township and other townships to get the creek cleaned up.”
Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin asked commissioners in December for the move, saying it would open the way for him to seek easements from other Ox Creek-adjacent property owners. About 10% of the affected land is owned by the city of Benton Harbor. Quattrin told us putting the needed properties into a drain district would allow for more funding for a clean-up. Some commissioners balked about possible costs some property owners would face, but in the end the resolution was approved on Monday.