MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — This week voters in Muskegon County will consider renewing a mileage that helps fund the Lakeshore Museum Center.
Due to COVID-19, the center is relying heavily on it passing this year.
“We don’t know what the future is going to look like either, but we still want to be able to respond and provide those programs to students, and teachers, and families,” said Melissa Horton, vice president.
The Lakeshore Museum Center collects, preserves, and interprets the history of Muskegon County through historic exhibits, education and cultural-based programs, and special events at nine sites.
The sites are free to Muskegon County residents.
“We have a varied history, that’s kind of neat,” said Horton.
If passed, the average homeowner would pay around $32 each year for the next 10 years.
“For the cost of a couple pizzas, you keep all of our sites open, and we’re able to do all those programs, free programs, that we offer,” said Horton.
Historically the mileage has been renewed, with voters saying yes four times over the last 40 years.
The renewal would generate $1.4 million each year for the center, which is about 60 percent of its budget according to Horton.
“I think having a museum that’s free to county residents is important,” said Horton. “It’s [an] important part of Muskegon, and as it’s growing downtown, to say that we have a museum for everybody to go to.”
The other 40 percent of the center’s funding comes from admission fees, grants, and donations, but because of the coronavirus, that revenue is down.
“Right now we’re at 3 percent of our admissions projections, where normally we’d be at 80 percent at this time of the year,” said Horton. “ Eighty percent versus three percent, we’re hardly making anything on our admissions.
She says renewing it is vital, explaining it would help them continue to educate visitors as the center works through this historic time.
“Staff is, they’re really anxious cause this mileage, we’ve got a lot riding on it,” said Horton.
“We’re lucky enough to have a mileage that helps us out with some of that stuff, but will also be very much impacted if we don’t have this mileage pass,” said Horton.
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