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Home » Community Resources » News


Hot Rod Power Tour packs downtown Muskegon with 50,000 people

Published: Sunday, June 03, 2012, 6:07 PM Updated: Monday, June 04, 2012, 12:57 AM

MUSKEGON, MI – Cars and people, people and cars.

Downtown Muskegon was full of both Sunday for the Hot Rod Power Tour.

About 50,000 people, based on preliminary crowd estimates, and about 4,000
high-end hot rods and other fancy vehicles packed the downtown streets and
parking lots. The weekend date and sunny skies, plus the star-attraction cars,
produced one of the largest crowds in years in Muskegon's downtown.

Muskegon was the second stop on a seven-city, week-long trek of the
world-renowned tour of high-end hot rods, street rods, muscle cars and custom
trucks. Muskegon hosted a Hot Rod Power Tour stop for a second consecutive year,
a rarity for the national event that tries to mix up its venues for its

“It’s a huge success,” said John VanWyck, one of the local organizers for the
Muskegon tour stop. “The people turned out and everybody who owned a vehicle had
an opportunity to show their vehicle. Generally, there were smiles on
everybody’s faces. Everyone seems to be having a good time.”

Hot Rod Power Tour visits downtown Muskegon

Libby March
Classic American cars form a row of red parked on
Fifth Street during the Hot Rod Power Tour in Muskegon, Mich. on Sunday, June 3,

The tour stop in Muskegon featured 3,200 vehicles on the Hot Rod Power Tour and
an addition 840 cars owned by West Michigan residents.Muskegon welcomed
thousands of hot rods, their owners and tens of thousands of spectators Sunday
with plenty of automotive-related activities and sunny skies. The downtown
streets and parking lots began filling up with cars and spectators more than an
hour before the event was tentatively scheduled to start.  Spectators seemed to enjoy the event.

“I think it’s really cool that they came here,” said McKay Dykema of
Muskegon. “This year it’s a lot bigger. It’s good for Muskegon to have it.”

David Olson of Muskegon said enjoyed the event because it was a large crowd
over a spacious area.

“I like the way that they filled up the downtown,” Olson said.

Two Marne residents sat in lawn chairs on a hill near the corner of Shoreline
Drive and Fourth Street to watch the hot rods and other cars arrive in Muskegon.
They staked out their viewing location at about 9 a.m. Sunday.

“It’s excellent,” said Pete Chesla. “Hopefully, there will be an event next

Hot Rod Power Tour 2012Libby March | MLive

Roy Strater, of Twin Lake, shuts the trunk of his 1946 Dodge before leaving the he Hot Rod Power Tour
2012 in Muskegon, Mich. on Sunday, June 3, 2012. Strater and his girlfriend,
Joyce Lund, have been attending car shows with the Dodge since he acquired it
about 30 years ago.  “It’s cool as Hell,” said Tim Merrick. “Unbelievable.”

The owners of the vehicles also spoke highly of the event.

Ray Cochran, who has completed the all the tour stops on five previous Hot
Rod Power Tours, called the Muskegon event “an awesome stop” on the tour. A
Zeeland resident, Cochran said Muskegon’s experience in hosting Bike Time shows
in the successful stop on the national car tour.

“I’ve done venues all over the U.S.,” said Cochran, who brought his 1973 Z-28
to Muskegon. “The downtown venues are absolutely the best.”

Some tour stops are held in large parking lots rather than in and around
downtown streets.


altAshley Miller | MLive

From left, Justin and Reed Cutler, 2, and Josh and Owen Silvis, 2, react as Ed Lutkus revs the
engine of his 1972 Chevelle Super Sport 454 on Sunday during the Hot Rod Power
Tour in downtown Muskegon. "It should go, go!" Reed said. The tour pulled into
town for their second stop in a seven city, week-long trek.

Audrey Tobin of Grand Haven displayed her 2010 Dodge Challenger at Heritage
Landing as part of the regional portion of the event. Her car drew second
glances because of its Plum Crazy color.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Tobin said of the event. “I’m glad it’s on the
weekend this year.”

The Hot Rod Power Tour, put on by Hot Rod Magazine and a favorite of “car
guys,” capped off an automotive-flavored weekend in Muskegon. Cruising the
Lakeshore Muskegon, a regional car event, took place Friday and Saturday in

VanWyck, chairman of Cruising the Lakeshore Muskegon, said people should mark
their calendars for the first weekend of June next year for the regional event
to continue. He said organizers hope to continue the momentum gained with
back-to-back years of successful stops on the national tour.

The Hot Rod Power Tour covered through Instagram 

Ashley Miller | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

According to preliminary crowd estimates, about 50,000 people and 4,000 high-end hot rods packed downtown
Muskegon Sunday as the Hot Rod Power Tour pulled into town for their second stop
in a seven city, week-long tour.

 Ashley Miller | MLive

The Hot Rod Power Tour covered through Instagram gallery

  • The Hot Rod Power Tour covered through InstagramThe Hot Rod Power Tour covered through InstagramThe Hot Rod Power Tour covered through InstagramThe Hot Rod Power Tour covered through InstagramThe Hot Rod Power Tour covered through Instagram

  • The 18th annual Hot Rod Power Tour started in Detroit before arriving in
    Muskegon Sunday. The tour is set to end in Arlington, Texas.

    Based on estimates provided by the national organizers, the 2011 Muskegon
    tour stop drew about 20,000 people to the downtown venue and about 4,000 cars
    were displayed. Last year’s Muskegon stop was on a Thursday.

    Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


    Shoreline Market proposed for downtown Muskegon

    Shoreline Market proposed for downtown Muskegon
    with $12 million mixed-use development

    Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 6:09 PM    



    MUSKEGON, MI – The most extensive downtown development plan since the removal
    of the Muskegon Mall has been put before city of Muskegon planners.

    ShorelineMarketElevation.jpgView full sizeThe Urban Renaissance
    GroupThe Shoreline Market site plan shows the
    marketplace with containerized construction in blue, the townhome rental
    apartments in yellow along First Street, two office buildings in green along
    Morris Street and standard market-rate apartments in red along Shoreline Drive.
    The new Social Security Administration building is shown in gray along Morris

    The Shoreline Market is a $12 million, 86,000-square-foot mixed-use
    development on the Morris Street parking lot owned by the Community Foundation
    for Muskegon County. The mix of European-market-style businesses, offices,
    apartments and townhouses is being proposed by Urban Renaissance Group LLC of
    Grand Rapids.

    The Shoreline Market development concept has been
    put together by Grand Rapids developer Robert Dykstra, who is currently in the
    process of completing
    a new U.S. Social Security Administration office building on the same Morris
    Street property

    The center of the Shoreline Market is a European-style marketplace for fresh
    foods, street-style restaurant outlets and artisans. “A rebirth of food, art and
    culture” is the marketing tag line for the development.

    The marketplace would be “containerized construction,” in which retail and
    food units would be built out of recycled shipping containers that are 20-by-8
    feet and can be connected to make larger spaces, according to Urban Renaissance
    Group partner Nicolas Mika. The residential and office structures would be of
    traditional construction, the developers said.

    Coming out of the of the software development sector, Mika started a market
    development company Intermodal in Grand Rapids.

    “We will build all the retail first before we go on to anything else,”
    Dykstra said of office and residential coming in later phases in a plan that
    could take five years to develop. “But on the retail development, we are trying
    to push for this year.”

    Mika brings a new generational approach to downtown development, Dykstra

    NicolasMika.jpgNicolas Mika

    “We are not just looking for artists but the right mix as food will be a
    great draw for the development,” Mika said. “The market will try to bring the
    downtown mall back but in a different way.”

    Community Foundation President Chris McGuigan said she has been authorized by
    the foundation’s executive committee to complete an option for the land, which
    the foundation purchased in 2007 for $1.4 million at the end of the Muskegon
    Mall era. It has been a parking lot, protecting an environmental brownfield site
    that was cleaned up by Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. two decades ago.

    The Shoreline Market concept has been developed in
    conjunction with the foundation’s urban planning consultant Howard Kohn of the
    Chesapeake Group Inc. of Baltimore, McGuigan said. Kohn
    showed a similar mixed-use development concept to community leaders in

    Urban Renaissance has applied to the city of Muskegon for a site plan
    approval for the Shoreline Market development. City planning officials said the
    market plans are on the June 14 Muskegon Planning Commission agenda.

    The roughly six-acre development site is zoned “central business district,”
    which will allow for the retail, food market, residential and office uses.
    Muskegon Zoning Administrator Mike Francek said city staff would probably
    suggest a “planned unit development” that would allow the developer flexibility
    but give the city certain standards that would have to be met in the

    The planned unit development zoning would need a recommendation from the
    planning commission and final approval from the Muskegon City Commission,
    Francek said.

    The Shoreline Market plans indicate that when fully built the development
    could draw on average up to 2,500 visitors a day all year round. The retail and
    food businesses and the office buildings could create 80 jobs or more, the
    developers said.

    The first phase would be the market space with 28,000-square-feet of
    containerized construction costing an estimated $3.5 million. The best-case
    scenario is to have it open in the spring 2013. The multi-level market could
    house up to 40 different shops, Mika said.

    The second phase would be 12, two-story townhouses with one-, two- or
    three-bedrooms. The $1.8 million market-rate townhouse rental units would be
    along First Street.

    The third phase would be two office and retail buildings along Morris Street
    west of the new Social Security office building. The 24,000 square feet of space
    would cost $3.3 million.

    The final phase would be 40 market rate apartments that would be smaller than
    the townhouses, Dykstra said. The $3 million apartment complex would be on the
    high bank along Shoreline Drive overlooking Muskegon Lake.

    Urban Renaissance is planning to submit an application with the Michigan
    Economic Development Corp. for a Community Revitalization Grant from the state
    designed to support market-centered, mixed-use developments in downtowns,
    Dykstra said. Funding for the Shoreline Market will come from private investors
    and other development companies, he said.

    The Shoreline Market is being designed by Harry Wierenga of Fleis &
    VandenBrink of Grand Rapids and the legal and environmental work is being
    handled by the Warner, Norcross & Judd law firm, Dykstra said.


    Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




    MMA announces Eagle Group and Anderson Global as "Manufacturers of the Year."


    Four Muskegon-area entrepreneurs receive statewide recognition for company innovations

    Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 10:04 AM Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 11:18 AM

    Dave Alexander | 
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 </script> By Dave Alexander | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The Muskegon Chronicle

    MUSKEGON, MI – Four Muskegon-area entrepreneurs were recently recognized by the Michigan Manufacturers Association as their companies helped lead West Michigan’s industrial turnaround.


    The recognitions were part of the 2012 Michigan Manufacturer of the Year Awards. The local award winners are role models for all area entrepreneurs, according to Suzanne Velarde of the e-merge Entrepreneur Network of West Michigan.

    Large tier company award finalists were Steve Moorland, president of Automatic Spring Products Corp. in Grand Haven and Mark Fazakerley and John Workman, president and vice president respectively of Eagle Alloy and the Eagle Group of Muskegon. The small tier company finalist was John McIntyre, president of Anderson Global in Muskegon Heights.

    Fazakerley and Workman were jointly recognized for their company’s ability to find innovative solutions for never-ending changes in the foundry industry. The Eagle Group includes three foundries and a machine shop.

    MMA officials said that productivity improvements and cost-cutting measures during the Great Recession put the company in position to take advantage of the economic turnaround as their competitors went out of business and products have been “re-shored” from Mexico and China back to the Eagle Group companies. The Eagle Group employs nearly 500 workers and is in an expansion mode at its Egelston Township facilities.

    Automatic Spring Products had three of its top five customers file for bankruptcy during the past recession, two of them as the company was completing construction of a new 53,000-square-foot facility, MMA officials said.

    Continuous improvement, lean manufacturing and successful strategic planning brought the company under Moorland’s leadership through the economic downturn, MMA officials said. Now employment is up 130 percent as the company has introduced at least one new product for the last six years. The company employs 270.

    Finally, McIntyre’s story at Anderson Global is similar. The tool and die company has diversified its customers as it has used advanced manufacturing techniques, employee empowerment programs, and community involvement to expand the business. McIntyre brought together an investment group that purchased an older manufacturing plant with a dwindling customer base and aging workforce, MMA officials note.

    A new labor agreement and investment in computers, machinery and equipment allowed for the historic automation of a “skilled trade” creating a culture of knowledge workers. The company has gone from 45 employees before the Great Recession to 140 today, while 60 percent of its products are shipped to customers outside of the United States.

    The e-merge Entrepreneur Network is a community-based initiative that supports job growth in the Lakeshore region bringing together more than 20 organizations designed to encourage and support business owners and those wanting to start businesses.





    Porty City Group receives $540,000 award from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

    alt Four West Michigan
    Businesses Receive State Support to Expand, Add Jobs
    5/24/2012 11:30:00 PM - MFRTech.comArticle

    LANSING – The
    Michigan Economic Development Corporation today announced Michigan Strategic
    Fund approval of Michigan Business Development Program incentives for four West
    Michigan businesses that are expected to generate up to $15.7 million in new
    private investment and add 465 new jobs.

    “These four companies, all
    located in West Michigan, are demonstrating that Michigan can compete with any
    state in the country as a great place to grow their businesses,” said Michael A.
    Finney, MEDC President and CEO. “These new investments show once more Michigan’s
    highly competitive business climate and tremendous workforce capabilities mean
    real opportunities for leading edge companies.”

    is a metal stamping company serving the commercial
    vehicle, power sports, agricultural and industrial markets. Center Manufacturing
    has won new contracts with Honda Power Sports and plans to invest up to $1.02
    million to expand its Byron Township operations. Center Manufacturing expects
    the project to create 80 new jobs, resulting in a $300,000 Michigan Business
    Development Program incentive. Center Manufacturing was chosen for the contracts
    over competition in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Byron Township
    has offered support to the project in the form of tax

    Huntington Foam LLC, a custom foam shape
    molder for the appliance, plumbing, furniture, electronics and automotive
    industries, has received a $340,000 Michigan Business Development Program
    incentive to expand its current facility in the City of Greenville. Huntington
    Foam proposes to invest up to $2.56 million and create 30 new jobs as a result
    of the project. Michigan was chosen over neighboring states that were courting
    Huntington Foam over the last six months. The City of Greenville has offered
    support in the form of a 12 year property tax abatement to the project.

    MedDirect, Inc., a Grand Rapids-based patient customer service
    and patient pay accounts receivable management company, was approved to receive
    a $750,000 Michigan Business Development Program incentive to open a new
    facility in the City of Grand Rapids. MedDirect proposes to invest up to $2.1
    million and create up to 300 new jobs over the next three years. Michigan was
    chosen over sites in Ohio and Illinois.  The City of Grand Rapids has offered
    support in the form of a seven-year personal property tax abatement to the

    Muskegon Castings Corporation, a member of the
    Port City Group of companies, manufactures aluminum die castings, zinc die
    castings, plastic injection molding, and provides tool and die design and
    production, aluminum recycling and smelting, and LED lighting and assemblies.
    Muskegon Casting has received a $540,000 incentive to expand its existing
    Michigan operations by establishing a new facility in the City of Muskegon.
    Muskegon Castings proposes to invest up to $10 million, resulting in the
    creation of 55 new jobs. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Indiana.
    The City of Muskegon has offered support to the project in the form of a 12-year
    tax abatement.

    Also today, the Michigan Strategic Fund board approved a
    $1.6 million Michigan Business Development Program incentive for
    Amway to build a new facility in Ada Township, a project that
    will generate up to $80.95 million in new private investment and add up to 200
    new jobs.

    Signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder in December, the
    Michigan Business Development Program provides grants, loans and other economic
    assistance to qualified businesses that make investments or create jobs in
    Michigan, with preference given to businesses that need additional assistance
    for deal-closing and for second stage gap financing.

    The MSF will
    consider a number of factors in making these awards, including: out-of-state
    competition, private investment in the project, business diversification
    opportunities, near-term job creation, wage and benefit levels of the new jobs,
    and net-positive return to the state. Business retention and retail projects are
    not eligible for consideration of these incentives.

    The Michigan Business
    Development Program replaces the state’s previous MEGA program that was a
    feature of the Michigan Business Tax that was eliminated under business tax
    restructuring legislation approved and signed into law by Snyder in May 2011.
    The Michigan Business Development Program and Michigan Community Revitalization
    Program are MEDC Business Attraction and Economic Gardening programs, supported
    by the MSF state general fund appropriation.


    Webb Chemical plans job-creating expansion; Muskegon Heights creates rehab district


    Webb Chemical plans job-creating expansion; Muskegon Heights creates rehab district
    Published: Sunday, May 06, 2012, 2:54 PM

    MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI – Webb Chemical, an industrial chemical-mixing and resale business, is expanding its operations and Muskegon Heights city officials are ready to help make it happen.

    Webb Chemical, 2708 Jarman, is planning a $4 million expansion over the next four years. Company officials are kicking off that larger goal with a $750,000 phase-one development, featuring a tank farm and other equipment.

    Muskegon Heights recently established a new development district that may help spur that large expansion project. City Council members approved a Plant Rehabilitation Industrial Development District, a designation that allows Webb Chemical to seek a tax break for the expansion.

    Brad Hilleary, CEO and owner of Webb Chemical, said the expansion project will create additional jobs. The company currently has 68 employees, plus 14 temporary workers. Hilleary said employment has grown by 23 over the last 18 months and he expects employment to grow by 10-15 with the expansion.

    Muskegon Area First CEO/President Ed Garner called the expansion project a “good endeavor” and said the company is looking at potentially incentives from local and state government.

    The tank farm, part of the first phase, is used to store the large quantities of chemicals that are brought in by rail or tanker truck.

    Webb Chemical is a full-service chemical distributor in the Great Lakes area.

    Webb Chemical has storage capacity of over 120,000 gallons of organic and inorganic chemicals. Its facility features more than 80,000 square feet of warehouse storage for liquid and dry chemicals.

    Eric Gaertner covers government, politics and the outdoors. He can be reached via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Follow him on Twitter @EricGaertner1.


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