Judge settles city/county legal matter

A Berrien County judge has settled a legal matter between St. Joseph County and the city of Three Rivers.

County officials confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that Judge John Donahue concluded Three Rivers did not breach terms of its contract with the county. The issue stems from the county’s attempt to recoup $755,000 it advanced the city to purchase the 77-acre property on which the complex is slated to be developed.

The $755,000 is part of $2.8 million the county pledged to the city for land purchase and expenses related to development of the complex. After the city experienced a series of delays in the process because of litigation of its own with Lockport Township, the county exercised its legal option.

Though he wasn’t speaking on behalf of the county board, commissioner Allen Balog said he is excited to see the $4.1 million proposal clear a critical hurdle. He said the $2.8 million from the county was meant as a gift to the Three Rivers area but, Balog added, the county’s lawsuit has tainted that goodwill gesture.

Balog said he hopes the county as soon as possible will cut Three Rivers a check for the balance of its financial pledge.

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