As Muskegon officials are trying to change the public’s perception of the city, a progress report on the effectiveness of the ‘Watch Muskegon’ campaign were released Friday. Acknowledging there is “still a lot of work to do,” Muskegon Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen says she has never been more encouraged by the direction the city is heading.
“The most exciting thing that is happening is the fact that there is so much happening,” Larsen said. “As a matter of fact, there’s a total investment in Muskegon County right now in excess of $1 billion. And I have never seen that in my career. To get up into the B’s, that is something,” she said.
The results of the mid-campaign found that residents who already live in Muskegon County and nearby are more likely to live and work in Muskegon. However, outside of the area, West Michiganders still have reservations about living or working in Muskegon due to concerns about safety and urban challenges.
“We’re an old community, and we went through some hard times. But that was 25 years ago, and I think a lot of people still think of Muskegon that way,” Larsen said. “Which is why we started the Watch Muskegon campaign, to change people’s way of thinking about the city.”
Chris Burnaw is a co-chair of the Mercy Health Seaway run and Lake Michigan half marathon June 24th. After 30 years in Muskegon, the finish line of the race has been moved to Downtown Muskegon this year to showcase the city’s progress.
“I think it’s the energy,” Bernaw said. “I’ve been here for 17 years, and just to see the change and the progress and the energy and the excitement downtown,” she said. “You know, it seems every time we turn around these days, there is something new going in. Everybody says ‘Muskegon, why go there?’ There a thousand reasons to come to Muskegon.”
Larsen said this summer the Muskegon Lake will undergo a huge transformation as the vacant Windward Pointe paper mill will be demolished in an effort to return the lake to its natural beauty.