Unique City on the Lakes!
The Club expressed delight being asked to play a game of “Remember when Muskegon’s Downtown looked like this?” Through a series of photos and postcards, Dave Alexander, below, led the Club through a history of downtown Muskegon. Members excitedly recalled many of our community’s milestones from lumber baron days to winter on Western Ave, wartime, ¬¬ the Mall and beyond.
But after Dave’s trip down memory lane, he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for the wonderful things taking place now in our city center. Just look around and see all the construction, and try to imagine all that is planned for the near future. Seven projects have started and two more are ready to begin shortly.Heritage Square, High Points Flats,Muskegon Community College renovation of the Chronicle Building,Downtown Dog Park and Berkshire Senior Citizens Housing.
Alexander reiterated that Downtown Muskegon Now has a big job to do and has been steadily making progress towards a revitalized city center. Downtown Muskegon Now, which Dave heads up, is a nonprofit that promotes downtown through economic development, preservation, restoration, and upkeep. Thursday’s presentation gave Club members an insider’s look at the wonderful things happening in our major city, some visible and others still in the planning process. The process began in 2003 when Imagine Muskegon formed to develop a plan for revitalization and growth of the downtown area.
This plan is still in use today, guiding the community as it strives to reinvigorate the city center. The plan uses Western and 3rd as the epicenter of the city, and Dave showed those gathered incredible past and present photos. He commented that “when the mall came down, we obviated all the retail in the downtown area. … And when it comes back, it will look very different from what we remember.”
The area’s strong infrastructure by previous generations plays a major role on the amazing cultural institutions we now can offer. The nonprofits expect to see a ripple effect downtown area develops. Muskegon’s waterfront will be a continued draw to the area with new developments planned. Dave sees future development moving away from downtown to Lakeside, Windward Point and onto our beaches. Challenges still exist, but we will overcome them on-by-one.