Planning Commission Talks Ox Creek Improvements

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission has big hopes for the Ox Creek Watershed in Berrien County. Deputy Executive Director Marcy Hamilton tells WSJM News it’s an area of Benton Township.

“Ox Creek is a creek that starts out in some rural areas of Berrien County and then flows through what we know as the Orchards Mall area, and then through the city of Benton Harbor where it meets up with the Paw Paw River,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton says the planning commission has used grant funding to draw up plans for the development of the whole watershed area near the Orchards Mall and other commercial developments. The plans incorporate things like outdoor shopping spaces, greenery, bike trails, and rain gardens.

“We want it to be kind of inspirational for what it could be,” Hamilton said.

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission partnered with Andrews University to draw up some plans that could be used to guide further development of the watershed to reduce pollution and runoff. A new website lays the plans out for public consideration. It’s at SustainOxCreek.org.