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Monday, December 14, 2015

What's Muskegon Missing? Editorial by Andy O

I talk.   Sometimes I have even been called the "one who won't shut up".  I know, shocker right?

As I talk, I do an equal amount of listening.  I also keep a very keen eye on social media and like to think that I can pretty much tell which way the winds are blowing in the area by reading what people have to say about things in their passing thoughts or, maybe their complaints.

It leads me to a question.  What is Muskegon missing?  What do we need?  What do we want?  What's it going to take to get us to look toward ourselves for what we will be defined as to future generations?

This past weekend, the Muskegon Risers hosted an indoor pro soccer game.  The West Michigan Lake Hawks took on a team from Detroit at Muskegon High School.  Pro soccer and basketball and BOTH in Muskegon and BOTH with remarkably low ticket prices that the entire family could go enjoy a night out for under $50....and yes, $50 is a lot of money to people....myself included.  We've got the Lumberjacks and will soon have the Ironmen Football.  I mean, there is pretty much a sport for everyone to go watch.

Concerts!  More people want concerts!!  Growing up in Sparta....EVERYTHING I had by way of concerts came from Muskegon with an occasional trip to Kalamazoo for the second leg of any tour.  They came here first and I saw just about all of them from 86-the early 90's.  Followed the show with a trip to On Broadway when I was old enough, and probably tried a couple times before I was old enough.  The town was jumping.

Today, attendance is there....but limited a lot.  Yes, lot's of things have changed and Muskegon has "shrunk" some but what's that stopping us for?  We've got the venues...we've had them all along.  The LC Walker Arena.....The Frau.... all doing what they can to bring in shows that fit and will be enjoyable for everyone.  If the Frau books in a show and the ticket price is reflective of today's entertainment of say $40 or sits empty.  If the Van Andel books the same act with maybe some support act equal to the magnitude of the headliner.....they charge $100 and all I see on my social media is everyone from Grand Rapids...paying more than double for the same thing?  Really?  I mean, I take nothing away from Grand Rapids...worked there a LONG time and watched the Arena District go from a wasteland to the heart of the city.  It was awesome!

courtesy flickr

My hope in this little editorial thought is that while we might not have the glistening new building...and we might not have "pro hockey" anymore....we have to support what IS here and more will come.  Activity breeds activity.  The more things that succeed, the more will happen.  I have made a firm commitment to help as much of our current offerings in town for entertainment as much as I can.  I simply don't want to lose something else.  My request to you is a part of things.  Attend.  Buy a ticket and be supportive of the teams and events we have here.  You'll find quality entertainment, low ticket prices and you'll be part of the rebuilding and re-branding of Muskegon!

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  1. Forward thinkers as yourself are what Muskegon needs. Keep up the good work .

  2. Concerts aren't what Muskegon needs. Muskegon needs year round thing. I say clean up the S.D.Warren sited and thens dump tons of dirt to make hills and tracks then have it for BMX, Motocross, races, competitions, and even things like Rebel Road.

    Then in the winter you'd have skiing and snowmobiling, and whatnot.

    Then you can even include water sports and competitive fishing. Muskegon is surrounded by nature, a good plan will take advantage of it.

    It would take a lot of investment but a motor sports complex would be lasting. Look at Bike Time, they left and people loved it so much they made Rebel Road a resounding success!

    How many concerts that lefts had the public brought back?

  3. Thanks for this perspective, Andy!! We do have a taste of everything for all ages! The West Michigan Symphony brings in world class artists both for classical concerts as well as pop and broadway. Also, the Muskegon Museum of Art, although not the size of big city museums, has a world class collection. Civic theater is performing regularly for the stage fans. When you couple it all together, we have everything Grand Rapids or any other city has, just on a different scale. I didn't say different quality, just different scale. We need the community to come out and support everything from arts and culture, to sports, to dining, to concerts, to recreation. There's a lot of fine people working hard every day to make this a great place. Spread the word, invite people into our community. Be great Muskegon! -Gabe Slimko

    1. I did have some commentary on the Symphony and fine arts in Muskegon on FB. I have not forgotten all of that....I am just a one man show at the moment....i'll be doing some fin art and symphony stuff soon!

    2. No accusations intended my man :) Just building off of your post. It takes a team and you've started a great thing!

  4. Here is one BIG problem - marketing reaching the right people at the right time. Our hometown newspaper is really no longer hometown. There is no single place everyone can go to find out what's happening in our community. Maybe a Muskegon Happenings website would do it. Sorry Andy, I don't have a perfect answer, but I know it's a big problem.