A visit Downtown Muskegon shows off some incredible and historic architecture that both residents and visitors marvel at. The Hackley Public Library, The Muskegon Museum Of Art, the historic churches, our beautiful Hackley park...just a block or so away, the Hackley and Hume Homes.... and of course the evolving and growing additions to Western Avenue that are blending in to the scenic views that have been restored there too. We are a community that's going through an awful lot of change, and it feels very fast at times, our riches lie deep here in Muskegon, we treasure what's ours.
One change that begins soon is one that many think is a long time coming. Attached to the Torrent House is the "Community Service Building". Some may recall it as the hospital and yes, there are probably still a few in town who's birth certificate came with a stamp from there. Talk about a building that "over did it" in it's time. Not only was it a hospital, it went on to continue to work for the betterment of the community beginning in the early 70's as the Community Service Building. Now, today, we have a name for a place like this....we call it an incubator. Back then the idea was the same but the concept had yet to spring. The Red Cross was housed there...along came The United Way and other community based organizations that help take care of need...and what was once destined for deconstruction got another 30 or more years of use. It being attached right to the side of the Torrent House like it was....for some, it never really caught on.
The time has come to say goodbye to the "attachment" of the building to the Torrent House. The work gets underway soon and while those who worked or put in some volunteer hours there might feel a "moment" all that surrounds the corner of Third and Western is going to match up a whole lot more elegantly when the dust settles. The Torrent House which holds a plethora of our history and genealogy in it will be as it was and the ornate stylings of the surrounding buildings historic significance will be accentuated and close to matching. A very useful building at one point has served its purpose and returning this corner to it's majesty....that's the goal of those working on the project.
Where do we start? Well, we find two of the people who spent the most time there. Luckily, they happen to be dear friends and can speak on the subject. Tim Lipan was the head of The Red Cross in Muskegon far back as I can remember and Christine Robere was and is still the Chief at the United Way of the Lakeshore...which had the "Garden Level" in the soon to be missing building. Let's hear some of their memories.
It's in the hope that we're sharing a fond memory for the audience. We see the changes happening day in and day out here too and it all seems so fast and those changes also seem to come without a lot of explanations. Our building here...almost $100k in cancer causing asbestos gone. The inaccessibility for those who are in need of assistance is over and the restoration of one more block out of the center of Downtown Muskegon marches on. Growth is happening, change is the only constant and by the spring, we should see a dramatically different look on Third and Western......which we can then begin to reimagine again. Many thanks to Tim and Christine for the visit.