Water, Water Everywhere For The Muskegon Heights City Council

Andrew Trzaska | October 25, 2010

Water was the biggest topic at the October 25 meeting of the Muskegon Heights city council, and finding the money to fund the city’s water investments was on the minds of the council before, during and after the meeting Monday night.

The agenda contained multiple proposed amendments to the utilities chapter of the Muskegon Heights city code. First, the council denied an amendment to the code that would have varied the cost of water by how many people were employed by the city. Instead of that amendment, the council passed one that raised the bulk rate for water to $1.42 per 1,000 gallons. The cost increase was in line with incremental changes in the consumer price index, and reportedly will help offset some of the city’s budget deficit.

The council also approved the installation of a new water main on Sherman Boulevard. The segment will run from Lebeouf Street to Leon Street. The vote was unanimous.

Mona Lake was the third water-related development at the meeting. The council received a progress report on the city’s Mona Lake Park redevelopment at the Service Meeting before the main council assembly. Reatha Anderson, Muskegon Heights’ director of planning and development, stated that Phase I of the revitalization was near completion, including much sewer work involving out-of-date septic tanks. She reported that the bathrooms would be ready for use next spring, and future phases of the project would start soon, including upgrades to the pavilion.

The funding for the Mona Lake Park project comes from the State of Michigan’s Cities of Promise initiative. Started in 2006, the program sought to redevelop the 34-acre park as a part of an overall plan to refresh and eliminate blight in Muskegon Heights, as well as seven other areas around the state.

Cities of Promise was created under current Governor Jennifer Granholm. In the Service meeting councilman Willie Watson expressed concerns about the continuation of the program when Michigan’s new governor is sworn in next year. Ms. Anderson explained that the program may disappear, but it could also be rebranded or even continued by the new governor. It is too soon to tell the fate of Cities of Promise, but the Muskegon Heights government is not resting.

“We’re always worried,” said Mayor Darrell Paige. “Cities of Promise is a great initiative. All of the cities that were a part of it are pushing together to keep it going.”

Andrew Trzaska

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