Watch Muskegon Go!

By: Emily Guiles

On May 26th Muskegon city council met at 5:30 pm to discuss both new and old business from that week.

The session started out with a prayer from Priest Tim Cross, followed by the pledge of allegiance. And then the council got down to business by discussing the City of Muskegon’s new campaign, Watch Muskegon.

Mayor Gawron wanted to assure the public that this campaign is going to be , “more than just posters and billboards,” said Gawron. Mayor Gawron explained why this campaign is necessary in rebuilding Muskegon’s image and recreating what it means to be Muskegon. Gawron also announced that he and his staff are prepared to, “get down and dirty,” to accomplish this task.

Also on the agenda for this session was a request from the Director of Public Safety for the City Commission review the agreement between City of Muskegon Police Department and the Muskegon Public Schools. This agreement was for a Community Officer to be present at the high school during the 2015-2016 school year. The City Commission did not take a vote on this issue yet but the staff are recommending that they approve the agreement.

The largest endeavor at the session was the motion to make amendments to the zoning ordinance to implement a form based code in downtown Muskegon. The consulting company responsible for creating this new form based code is Williamson Works.

Williamson Works also did the waterfront master plan and has worked on form based code in Grand Rapids Mich. The team has been working on this form based code for downtown Muskegon for over a year and are ready to implement it. This new project comes at an appropriate time with the new Watch Muskegon campaign in full effect, which is strongly for rebuilding the downtown area.

This form based code envisions downtown as a destination with mixed uses and waterfront access. They have also tried to work out a new parking strategy due to the lack of parking availability that is sometimes troublesome in the downtown area. It will also facilitate higher density development which will foster economic development.

Williamson Works associates reiterated that this new code will not restrict your choices when it comes to your property, it will not tell you what color to paint your house or what plants you can have in your yard, it is only concerned with the overall structure of the buildings in question.

A motion was seconded to approve the form based code, which was unanimously passed by all members of the council.

Next on the agenda was Dennis Cobbler, who wished to invite all of the council members to the celebration of the completion of the first third of the renovations of the ravines and waterways. Cobbler also wanted to announce the new street light bar décor, which will be tributes to enlisted soldiers and veterans in the Muskegon area.

Among other news, the playground in front of Nim’s school is ready to be built. The manager of this event is Jenn Sanocki, and she communicated that the construction of the playground couldn’t have been done at a more opportune time, with the Watch Muskegon campaign in full swing this endeavor fits in perfectly.

To build the playground Sanocki is looking for approximately 20 more volunteers to come help with construction on June sixth, construction will begin at eight AM and Sanocki projects that it should be finished around two PM. The official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on June thirteenth at 11 AM.