Benton Harbor parks president resigns for ‘personal reasons’

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR — The president for the Benton Harbor Parks and Recreation Conservancy resigned Monday.

The conservancy’s executive committee made the announcement through a news release, in which Stephannnie Harvey-Vandenberg cited personal reasons for her immediate resignation.

Walt Pullins, executive director of environment of care and hospitality services at Lakeland Health, was named interim president while the board begins its search for a successor to Harvey-Vandenberg.

The conservancy is a nonprofit organization that manages the 13 parks in Benton Harbor.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to beautify this wonderful city,” Harvey-Vandenberg said in the release. “I am proud of the strides that the conservancy has made toward improving local parks and green spaces during my tenure, and am certain that they will enjoy continued success moving forward.”

Harvey-Vandenberg was with the parks conservancy for two years after assuming the role of president in 2013. In her tenure, the conservancy refined its strategic plan and hosted several new events in Benton Harbor, including the Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony and the Twin Cities Thanksgiving Turkey Trot benefit race.

The conservancy partnered with local businesses and coupled with state funding and matching donations, and made renovations and improvements to Union Park during Harvey-Vandenberg’s presidency.

“The board is extremely thankful for Stephannnie’s time and dedication over the last several years,” Pullins said. “The conservancy has thrived under her leadership. We understand and sympathize with her decision to step down from the presidency and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on June 28, 2016)


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