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Locals upset as City of Muskegon looks to add parking spaces to Pere Marquette Beach

Pere Marquette Beach(2).jpg
Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 10:41:13-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Update: At the Planning Commission meeting Tuesday, the commission voted and approved a modified plan. There will be two additional rows of parking added at Pere Marquette. The trees along Beach Street will come down as part of that project.

The City of Muskegon Planning Commission is hearing a proposal Tuesday at 5:30 that would add roughly 150 parking spots to Pere Marquette Beach.

You can request a parking pass at this link.

The Department of Public Works Director Leo Evans says the current plan was made in order to expand on an additional construction project on Beach Street, and will cost roughly 800,000 dollars.

Not everyone is happy with the plan, as a group of concerned residents met with Evans Tuesday afternoon.

After seeing just how much pavement there would be, Marty SanClemente says she’d like the commission to consider other options.

“We’re saying come up with some more ideas," SanClemente said. "One idea is not the route to go when you live in a democracy."

Another issue for some: the project as proposed would result in the removal of some mature trees growing along the beach.

“We understand there are concerns about the trees," said Muskegon resident Jim Kolkema. "We think there’s ways to make the trees still a viable consideration."

Jim and Jan Kolkema walk the beach every morning and have lived in Muskegon their whole lives.

They say they want improvements at Pere Marquette, but want them to be done carefully.

“Change is always hard. But this is a jewel. It’s important that we work to make it even better,” Jan Kolkema said.

Evans says he is open to other options, but if the city wants expanded parking by spring, they’ll have to start soon.

“I’m not married to any one idea,” Evans said.