Troy Bell was working as a lecturer at Purdue University before arriving to Muskegon Heights as City Manager.
Although he is a mechanical engineer by training and earned equivalent degrees in Economics, Sociology, and Finance. Bell inherited his family's commitment to public service and the burning passion that we all have purpose in helping one another. Set squarely on the foundation provided by a mother who served 30 yrs as a special education teacher and a father who is a retired Army general officer, he gained personal affinity for the value of local government after serving as my university's undergraduate student body president and working as a sworn municipal police officer in Miami. Professional city management is the highest expression of this combined commitment to community service and the diverse expertise that he developed in leadership, public works, fiscal competence, technology, economic development, and public/nonprofits community services delivery.
Mr. Bell said, when he took the position as Muskegon Heights City Manager, he knew that it was going to be challenging. What he did not expect was all the warmth and the love that the citizens of Muskegon Heights have for their community.
Mr. Bell feels that the focus point should be housing. The housing stock is near 100 years old in the Heights and the last housing development in the Heights was in 2014. Muskegon Heights has roughly 800 vacant lots just sitting. Bell stated that without those properties being developed we that they have no tax spaces, which means the current residents will have to pay higher taxes in order to fund the government.
Meanwhile Mr. Bell has proposed a plan in which will bring revenue to Muskegon Heights by rebuilding Muskegon Heights and bringing in more retailers who will invest in our community by giving back 10%. Bell's first step is to start with the strip on Peck and Sherman by adding retail shops and apartments. He won't disclose the developer's name but he did say that he was a native of Muskegon Heights. His second step is to add orange bricks that spell out Muskegon Heights on that corner next year.
While Mr. Bell continues to revitalize our outlook of our community he is also trying to create a new program that allows the citizens of Muskegon Heights to be able to community directly to our elected city officials by becoming the first city to pilot the Bloomz app. Which allows citizens to report problems directly to the proper city departments such as water, parks and recreations.
Mr. Bell continues to be hopeful as the council just approved the marijuana licensing. He is very positive that now that it has passed Heights will generate a lot of revenue to help rebuild the City of Muskegon Heights to the next level.
Well Bell has a big job ahead of him and we wish him well and continue to do good work for the community.