Just hours after the historic vote by local communities to study the revitalization of the local harbor and waterfront, one of the first great steps to getting people onto the water and connecting across the St. Joseph River is coming to life.
Cornerstone Alliance has joined the SWMI Cycle Boat and the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in announcing plans to provide a free Water Taxi service during the week of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship this spring. The Water Taxi will provide transportation throughout the harbor for locals and tourists alike. Stops include the Margaret B. Upton Arboretum below the St. Joseph Band Shell, The Inn at Harbor Shores and Tavern on the River.
Ryan Ogle, Championship Director of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, says, “We are excited to be a part of this unique opportunity to further highlight our host communities,” and adds, “The water taxi will allow locals and visitors to use the free service which provides transportation to the multiple locations throughout the harbor and access to the championship via a special shuttle at The Inn at Harbor Shores.”
In addition to the water taxi service, Holt Bosse is assisting Cornerstone Alliance in producing a wayfinding application that users can download to their mobile device. That app will suggest and provide navigation to restaurants to try and sites to see while visiting in Michigan’s Great Southwest. There are plenty of options for food, shopping and entertainment around downtown St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. It will also include the Cycle Boat schedule and countdown timer to help plan daily activities throughout the week of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Christina Frank, Vice President of External Affairs at Cornerstone Alliance, says, “The harbor is one of the greatest assets in this community,” and adds, “A water taxi service during the week that is seen as the official kick-off to summer will provide our local residents with a new opportunity to utilize the water as a means of transportation. It will enhance the accessibility, mobility and connection within the communities, and to businesses located within close proximity of the three stops.” Frank points out, “The water taxi and wayfinding app will make it easier for residents and visitors to enjoy the water as well as local restaurants, shops, and entertainment attractions. None of this would be possible without the collaboration of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, Southwest Michigan Cycle Boat and the St. Joseph Improvement Association.”
Brady Cohen, Owner of the SWMI Cycle Boat, made a statement regarding the overall vision of the Water Taxi, saying, “Our original vision was to provide the community and tourists with access to our stunning harbor views and what we refer to as ‘The Water Movement.’ That vision is now our mission; put people on the water to experience a fun, innovative way of sightseeing with a unique twist. People are always seeking new, exciting adventures, so to offer a safe water option is highly attractive.”
Cohen introduced the Southwest Michigan Cycle Boat in 2019 and is excited to provide this special opportunity to the community, saying, “We’re thrilled to deepen our existing relationship with Cornerstone Alliance and believe that aligning our efforts to better serve the community and tourists, and partnering with the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, will allow guests to experience what our beautiful harbor in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor has to offer.”
Cornerstone Alliance, Berrien County’s lead economic development agency, is a non-profit, investor-governed economic development organization primarily focused on increasing employment opportunities, private sector capital investments and the local tax base in Michigan’s Great Southwest; with specialized business services offered in economically distressed areas.
The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship is the most historic event in senior golf. Started in 1937, the annual competition brings the best players in the game to compete for the prestigious Alfred S. Bourne Trophy. The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship made its first appearance in Michigan in 2012, returning again in 2014, 2016, 2018, and is back for the Memorial Day weekend here in 2020.