Marketing. Beautification. Education.
Watch Muskegon is more than just a community campaign—it’s a movement. A countywide, privately funded effort launched by a number of local businesses, individuals and passionate Muskegon residents, Watch Muskegon takes on the task of improving the overall image of the Muskegon area.
“A couple years back, our local businesses expressed concern about Muskegon not having the strongest image and that’s what motivated us at the Chamber to focus in on the issue,” said Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “We have a great story to tell, so we came up with Watch Muskegon as a way to improve Muskegon’s image for the better through three components: marketing, beautification and education. Once launched, we were overwhelmed with how well-received the campaign was by the community and, in return, the engagement that has emerged because of it.”
Larsen notes the campaign is a collaborative effort, due to the efforts of many.
“Even though the chamber designed the strategy, many organizations, governments, businesses and individuals are key stakeholders and the reason for the success of Watch Muskegon.”
A key component to this success relies on sharing the positive changes that have already taken place, in addition to educating residents on Muskegon’s assets.
“Watch Muskegon is positively impacting Muskegon in many ways currently and we’re seeing it progressively expand throughout the city—from enhanced corridors when entering the city, to an increase in educational resources getting in the hands of residents,” said Larsen.
“Not only do workers want to come to Muskegon for their jobs, but they also want to live here and call this their home. We notice this in turn continuously builds strong neighborhoods, increases resident involvement and boosts personal investment in the community.”
Each Watch Muskegon pillar has a specific set of goals and efforts:
A beautiful city makes for beautiful memories. The beautification process was kicked off with a study on ways to improve Sherman Boulevard, one of Muskegon County’s main corridors. From proposed new lighting and benches to landscaping and painted murals, efforts increase residential pride, encourage business growth and provide a welcoming gateway for visitors. Additionally, cleanup efforts continue to spruce up blighted properties in the area and apply gateway features in strategic locations from US 31 all the way to Lake Michigan.
Various programs are used as a tool to share Muskegon’s unique assets, natural beauty and economic successes. The Muskegon STAR! program delivers information that increases community knowledge and teaches participants how to share this information positively throughout their neighborhoods and beyond. Muskegon in Focus brings a diverse group of professionals together for a community-awareness program and provides numerous experiences that give a behind-the-scenes look at opportunities to make a difference.
Among many other efforts is the Muskegon Area Promise, the opportunity for free higher education available to all students who graduate from a Muskegon County high school with a 3.5-grade point average or higher and live within the Muskegon Area ISD boundaries.
Sharing the Watch Muskegon message locally and beyond is integral to ensuring people know what the Muskegon area has to offer. Through avenues such as social media, digital, print and radio ads, and gorgeous imagery, positive Muskegon-related content has been spread throughout the state for all to see and hear. Methods of engagement like the #ThisIsMuskegon photo contest have also provided an inside look at how locals and visitors choose to enjoy the community.
The people are what make Muskegon great—and it’s through engaged, excited, involved community members that a wide range of improvements can be made and, in turn, an increased quality of life can be enjoyed by all.
Visit Watch Muskegon to learn more about the program and how you can get involved.