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New houses being built in Muskegon Heights for the first time in nearly 20 years

Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 18:58:38-05

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — Muskegon Heights's city manager says expanding housing in the town will help accomplish his goal of creating a cradle-to-grave community.

“New homes in Muskegon Heights are the key to the revival,” City Manager Troy Bell said.

Ten homes are set to be built starting this April. The goal is to build 250 new homes in the next five years.

“We believe that we can create a renaissance in this community without the negative aspects of gentrification — which is displacement. The way that we’re approaching this is strategic and intentional, making sure when we build those homes are available. We’re asking all the developers to bring programs that assist with down payment assistance, credit repair, and homeownership mentorship, for one to three years,” Bell said.

Phyllis Loudermill, a local construction company owner, started Loudermill Group, Muskegon Heights's first Black-owned real estate-and-development company as a result.

"There would be no way you could build that many homes and not have people in the neighborhood that could sell them,” Loudermill said.

The homes will be built in some of the city's 1,000 vacant lots. The idea is to create more homeowners in Muskegon Heights in order to expand the tax base and benefit the entire community. The first homes will be built along roads that are in good condition, with the idea that that progress will trickle inward into streets that need more repairs.

“We want to be that next stop, and we will be,” Loudermill said.

Currently, more than half of the city's homes are rentals. By changing that, Bell says it will provide a renaissance for the city.

“If you think about it, we are 40 minutes from Grand Rapids. You can buy a house in Muskegon Heights that will cost you $150,000–$200,000 that will cost you $350,000–$400,000 in Grand Rapids,” Bell said.

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