Benton Harbor revitalization org planning for active and aggressive 2017

The Benton Harbor Downtown Development Authority is looking to be aggressive this year with efforts to boost the area.

The organization has been around for about 20 years, but has been inactive at times. Now with new leadership, they are taking on some new projects to revitalize the downtown area, including a campaign to attract visitors to the city.

Their goal is to continue the momentum they see from the Cornerstone Alliance and other local initiatives improving Benton Harbor.

"We have lots of wonderful businesses downtown that people are not real familiar with if they aren't local," said Richard Hensel, president of the Benton Harbor Downtown Development Authority. "We want to familiarize people with things they can do when they come here."

It is their first full year of activity in a long time. And they  are hosting a series of fundraising efforts to try to give the downtown area a boost. 

That includes a block party in June on Riverview Drive and cultural events. 

The BHDDA hopes their efforts can drive traffic into the city. 

"We see people who are coming to the area because they are brought here by Harbor shores and some of the development that's taking place," said Hensel. "They are looking for places to start a business. And there are also people looking for places to live."

The DDA hosts public meetings every third Wednesday of the month at Vincent Place on Main Street. They invite the community to attend and assist. 

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