Mona Lake Park Revitalization Plans Enter Stage II: Athletic Fields Work May Start This Year

Andrew Trzaska | June 13, 2011

The revitalization of Mona Lake Park will continue this year as Phase I of the plan developed by the City of Muskegon Heights wraps up and Phase II begins.

At Monday’s service meeting, the city council and city staff discussed what was finished, what had to be done, and fine-tuning the aspects that will likely be completed this fall.
On the south side of the city between the Seaway and Mona Lake, the park has plenty of space for recreation but has become run down over the past few decades.

Using matching Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the city of Muskegon Heights has upgraded the boat launch in the park, improved the lighting around the premises, fixed sewer issues and many cosmetic improvements to the park.

Phase III, anticipated for 2015, will involve rebuilding the pavilion in the park, yet it was Phase II that was the main focus of Monday’s meeting, because the funds for it came through for work this year.

Part of the current plan for Phase II is to revitalize the athletic fields in the park.

Councilman and Muskegon Heights Athletic Director Keith Guy strongly urged that the focus of Phase II stick with the athletic fields.  He pointed out that the fields could be used as home turf for MHSAA varsity or other county league sports, bringing people into Muskegon Heights.

Muskegon Heights school teams used to play there. Now, the high school is without a home field.

Mayor Darrell Paige underscored Guy’s point, noting that the fields could generate sports interest at younger ages than JV and varsity play.

“[With youth sports] you also build a feeder system, which leads into your local schools.”

The anticipated 3-year gap between Phases II and III is not out of the ordinary, according to city staff.

Frequently, federal grants do not come in two years in a row, but Muskegon Heights managed it in 2011 and 2012.

Also discussed was the up tick in use of the improved boat launch.  City staff noted that sales of seasonal boat launch permits have increased.

In related discussions, budget and block grant discussions at Monday’s meeting noted that changes to the Muskegon Heights Farmers Market may be coming in the next few years.

Discussions between council members and city staff at the service meeting said the Market would not likely move, and if it did it would remain downtown near its current location.

The location of the now-defunct Southern Fish Fry was discussed as a possible location for an improved MATS transportation center for that area of downtown,
Few details were available at the time of this story, but any plans rest on securing a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst