Strand Theater, other Muskegon Heights landmarks due for overhaul under new vision plan –

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MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — ‘Reaching New Heights.’ That was the goal as the City of Muskegon Heights’ Downtown Development Authority moved to approve the city’s plan to rehab, restore and revitalize some of its best-known features.
A vision plan hatched in conjunction with Greater Muskegon Economic Development, will compliment broader efforts to usher in new investment.
The City said ‘Reaching New Heights’ was the culmination of an 18-month process driven by public surveys, focus groups, tours and more.
One of its key elements involves the historic Strand Theater.
The long-vacant building has been falling apart for decades. Chain link fencing prevents the public from approaching its crumbling façade.
Plans call for the theater to be redeveloped into a mixed use space, featuring several levels of residential, commercial and office space.
Experts, per city leaders, have said physically restoring the whole building would likely prove cost prohibitive.
Instead, the city said it would work to preserve or reuse as much of the Theater’s well-known façade as possible in order to maintain its architectural integrity.
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Next door, Rowan Park is also due for a facelift.
Muskegon Heights intends to rehabilitate the park’s existing features, install a splash pad and erect the city’s first bronze statue, a tribute to the city’s school marching bands.
It will also close-off the adjoining street to make room for festivals and community events.
Overlooking the park, the planned Park Place on Broadway would comprise both residential and retail spaces.
Additionally, plans call for significant roadwork and façade renovations along the historic downtown Broadway Corridor with the aim of turning some of the most recognizable hallmarks of the economic downturn—one that’s seen the city’s tax base contract significantly in recent decades– into a vibrant symbol of possibility.
“I’m excited,” City Manager Troy Bell said. “We would not be here now if it wasn’t for this vision plan. There are so many wonderful things that are going on in Muskegon Heights, people doing amazing things. But what we wanted to do was bring all of that together behind a vision, ‘Reaching New Heights. I’m excited about the potential we have now that we have this vision in place and have articulated it.”
Plans to erect a parking garage in the vicinity of the Strand Theater are intended to ease congestion in the downtown corridor and encourage residents to visit more frequently.
Muskegon Heights said it would pay for the project using various grants, some of which it already secured at the time of publication.
For a full description of the plan and scope of work, click here
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