News about the City of Muskegon, announcements and updates.
The City of Muskegon Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 is now available online.
The CAFR summarizes the city’s financial activity for the year and includes the unmodified opinion of the City’s independent auditor – Brickley DeLong, PC.
CITY OF MUSKEGON
SPECIAL MEETING NOTICE
DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The meeting of the City’s Downtown Development Authority scheduled for TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2021 has been CANCELLED due to lack of business to conduct.
From ‘eyesore’ to ‘eye-popping’:
Community Art Project Looks To
Improve Muskegon’s Seaway Drive
MUSKEGON, MI – With the final help of an online crowdfunding effort, Muskegon’s entrance on Seaway Drive will have two railroad overpasses go from eyesores to eye-popping.
The MuskegonCity Public Art Initiative project and its community partners are looking to close the final financial gap in the four-public-mural Muskegon Rails Project. For the four murals to be painted on the sides of two railroad bridges that for years were rusting hulks in the cities of Muskegon, Norton Shores and Muskegon Heights, community support is needed to make them become a reality.
The MuskegonCity Public Art in conjunction with the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Public Spaces, Community Places crowdfunding program launched a Patronicity.com effort today to raise $50,000 before Feb. 20. With $50,000 raised online, the MEDC will match that dollar-for-dollar with $50,000 – filling the remaining gap in the $212,000 Muskegon Rails Project. Donors can contribute at https://www.patronicity.com/project/muskegon_rails_project
“The cities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, and Norton Shores are excited to come together with the MEDC’s support for the value of placemaking in Michigan, reflected in those who have led the growing public art collection in the Muskegon community,” said Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson. “The creative repurposing of these bridges – what many consider longtime eyesores in each of these cities – is another step toward creating a more beautiful and vibrant community.”
The four Michigan artists – three of them from Muskegon – were among the 16 entries in the process to create the inspiring images that will be painted on the railroad bridges. The public art committee brought the competition down to six finalists and the final four artists were selected with a public online vote.
“The Muskegon Rails Project is just one more example of the innovative and creative energy of Muskegon these days, and these massive murals are going to be enjoyed by literally thousands of Muskegon residents and visitors,” said Judith Hayner, Project Director of the MuskegonCity Public Art Initiative, and retired Executive Director of the Muskegon Museum of Art. “Muskegon’s public art collection has been instrumental in the exciting regeneration that we are experiencing in our community today, and these four works of art are going to be remarkable additions to this collection. When it comes to art, we believe more is more!”
The MuskegonCity Public Art Initiative is a Community Foundation for Muskegon County public art effort that is providing seed funding for 10 significant public art projects in the community. The first was Moxie and the downtown Mastodons on the Loose centered at the Lakeshore Museum Center and the second, A City Built on Timber in conjunction with Muskegon County at Heritage Landing. The third is Celebrating Muskegon to be installed in the coming weeks, depending on weather, in the middle of the traffic circle at Pere Marquette Park.
As for the Muskegon Rails Project, the four winning murals are:
- Calm and Quiet – The dunes and dancing sailboat mural will be painted by Jimmy Cobb, a Muskegon freelance artist who graduated from North Muskegon High School, Muskegon Community College and is now studying at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
- Happy – The diverse faces of Muskegon will be painted by Dan Parker, a Muskegon self-taught artist, who has painted murals in San Antonio and New York City.
- Flora and Fauna – An artistic flock of color and vibrancy erupts from these motifs reminiscent of the abstractions of late 20th Century artists and will be painted by Ed Irmen, of Detroit, who with a 2016 degree from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies specializes in large-scale murals.
- Pride and Opportunity – An historic montage of Muskegon images showing beautiful elements that make the community unique will be painted by Ashley Nash, a Muskegon High School graduate with a fine art degree from Grand Valley State University and now a Grand Rapids freelance illustrator.
The four murals will be painted in May, 2021. The cities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and Norton Shores are preparing the bridge surfaces for the artists.
“The Muskegon Rails Project is a fun and exciting initiative to improve some long-standing eyesores in the community,” Norton Shores Mayor Gary Nelund said. “Going beyond just paint and primer, the addition of four new public art pieces will be a new and unique way to celebrate our community.”
The Muskegon Rails Project is a community collaboration that will be seen by the 20,000 motorists that pass under the railroad bridges each day.
“The rail bridge mural process and project is an undeniably tangible indication of what art can do to bring people and whole communities together,” Muskegon Heights City Manager Troy Bell said. “Through this project we see clearly how in Muskegon, where roads might divide us, bridges can unite us.”
The inspiration for The Muskegon Rails Project began with Norton Shores businessman Jerry Wiersma, president of West MI Power Cleaning Equipment. Wiersma worked several years to get the approval of track owner CSX and track user Genesee Wyoming Railroad to improve the look of the bridges.
“It is so exciting to finally see this project come to fruition,” Wiersma said. “This has taken a lot of work from a whole host of people. Of course this would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Genesee Wyoming Railroad, who have been so great to work with. When others said that this could not be done, we dug in and said, “Watch Us Go!”
For more information contact:
MuskegonCity Public Art Initiative
MUSKEGON, MI – A pandemic with stay-at-home orders, online classrooms, virtual public meetings, cancelled community events, shuttered businesses, and unprecedented election-year discord has left a relationship void between City of Muskegon citizens and their elected officials.
To help bridge the void that has grown in 2020, the Muskegon City Commission and key city hall staff members have embarked on more than a dozen listening sessions with key stakeholders who are integral to city priorities and commission goals. In the final two months of the year, city commissioners have been teamed with a member of the city staff to conduct listening sessions that will provide a pulse of the community and offer an opportunity to answer constituent questions.
“This is an opportunity for city commissioners to ‘reset’ any prior relationships with our friends and neighbors that might have been strained or disrupted from the pandemic, the social unrest and the gnawing uncertainty that we face as individuals and a community,” said Muskegon Mayor Stephen Gawron.
The commission-staff teams will reach out to a variety of groups in hopes of having an hour or two conversation with no more than a dozen people. These are designed to be focus groups preparing city leadership for a critical goal setting session in late January, an annual process that was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 public health restrictions on public meetings.
“Information gathered at the listening sessions will be used to inform the city leaders of significant goals and needed action plans moving forward,” Muskegon Development Services Director LeighAnn Mikesell said. “These meetings are being designed to create honest conversation where we can hear from stakeholders and establish a spirit of collaboration and partnership.”
Specifically, the groups being asked to participate in an initial round of community engagement will have particular interests in the areas of social equity, justice, youth, education and housing. Among the groups being asked to participate are the Muskegon County Social Justice Commission and the Muskegon Young Black Professionals. Other groups will include students and educators from Muskegon and Orchard View public schools, Muskegon Community College, Baker College of Muskegon and Grand Valley State University.
Agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore and Community enCompass along with groups of major community investors, landlords and real estate agents will be invited to participate in the process.
The conversations are intentionally being kept small and not part of a public meeting so that city commissioners and key city staff can hear honestly from many citizens who many not be comfortable speaking at public meetings nor publicly sharing opinions and reflections on what could be difficult topics.
That is not to say that the general public is being left out of the goal setting process. The City of Muskegon has opened up a public, online survey for which citizen opinions are sought. Find the survey here: Stakeholder Survey | City of Muskegon (muskegon-mi.gov) (https://www.muskegon-mi.gov/stakeholder-survey/)
In addition, anyone can address the Muskegon City Commission at the end of all of its public meetings on topics of general concern and interest to the city. The actual goal setting meeting in January will be open to the public and have opportunity for public input.
“The city will better understand the breadth and depth of the challenges, opportunities, hopes and concerns of our citizens,” Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson said of the listening sessions that are being conducted in accordance with current public health precautions.
The engagement meetings will take place in through the end of the year with city staff creating a public report on the common issues, concerns and solutions that developed from the sessions. The report will help set the agenda for the goal-setting meeting.
“At the end of this process, it is my hope — and that of my fellow commissioners — to rebuild and strengthen trust and foster a willingness to communicate openly, recognizing that as a city we are stronger working together,” Mayor Gawron said.
For additional information, contact:
Mayor Stephen Gawron
Development Services Director LeighAnn Mikesell
MUSKEGON, MI – Parking restrictions have been changed by the Muskegon City Commission for the downtown area to allow residents on street parking options during the winter parking ban that is from December 1, 2020 through March 1, 2021.
The city’s parking ordinance was designed to clear downtown city streets of parked cars on overnights when a significant snowfall required Department of Public Works plows to clean streets for the next morning. Such restrictions were difficult for the growing number of downtown residents, city officials said.
To provide downtown residents an opportunity for overnight street parking, the city’s new 2020-21 winter parking restrictions will be as follows: street parking is allowed in the downtown area all hours except between 12 a.m. (midnight) to 7 a.m., motorists may park on even dates on the side of the street with even addresses and on odd dates on the side of the street with odd addresses. However, where parking is allowed on only one side of the street the parking ban is between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The map of the “downtown area” is included showing the downtown as basically south of Shoreline Drive, west of Spring Street, north of Muskegon Avenue and east of Ninth Street.
“The increasing number of downtown residents and overall downtown activity of business and entertainment has the city needing to change its parking restrictions this winter to allow for overnight parking on the streets,” said Muskegon Public Safety Director Jeff Lewis. “The whole goal here is not for enforcement but to have compliance in order to keep our streets cleared.
City Wide existing parking restrictions also will go into effect December 1, 2020 through March 1, 2021.
Where parking is currently allowed on both sides of the street, on street parking during the day from 7:00 am to 5:00pm will be the odd/even parking. On even calendar days (i.e. November 30th parking would be on side with house numbers ending in even number 2, 4, 6, 8) on odd days such as (December 1st parking would be on odd side with house numbers ending in 1, 3, 5 etc). After 5:00pm you may park on either side of the street until 7:00am the next morning then you must comply with the ordinance.
For more information, contact:
Muskegon Police Department