The Muskegon Lumberjacks signed a two-year contract so that they can continue playing home games at the L.C. Walker Arena. The city of Muskegon and the hockey’s organization’s contract includes three five-year extension options. Lumberjacks will pay $250,000 annually to the city. This number could increase up to $350,000 in case Lumberjacks get promotional partnerships.
Mike McCall, Lumberjacks President said: „We’re looking forward to the future in Muskegon.“
This deal was made right before the expiration of the current contract. The arena was recently upgraded which increased attendance at games. Muskegon City Manager, Frank Peterson, said that the arena was closer to breaking rather than being financially supported by the city, which was caused by increasing the guaranteed amount. He also said: „People were wondering if they’d stay… we went about as long as anyone was comfortable.“
On 26th March, there was a city’s meeting, where the Muskegon City Commission approved the agreement. Lumberjacks aren’t the only team who has an agreement with the city about playing games at the arena. There are also the Muskegon Risers soccer and West Michigan Ironmen football teams.
In late 2018, the $1.7 million fan-experience renovations were completed and it helped increase attendance at games. Highlights of the renovation include a pavilion/beer garden; Rad Dads’ Tacos & Tequila Bar; an enlarged concourse near the Western Avenue entrance; new executive suites and club-seating areas; a Kids Zone; and party decks in the northwest and southeast corners. The city plans on adding some other things to that list of renovations including a $1.05 million roof replacement, a $552,000 dehumidification system, restroom relocation, and heating systems projects.
The director of the organization’s media relations, Scott Bradford, said that an average attendance before the renovations was up to 2,500, and now it is up to 2,700. Apart from breaking average attendance records, the team will most likely break its season scoring and win records. This year, they will have their third consecutive trip to U.S. Hockey League playoffs.
Peterson says: „We put this deal together for the team, arena, and downtown to thrive. The growth of the Lumberjacks has helped everything in downtown Muskegon.“
It is expected that the Cool Kids ice cream shop opens in the arena in the summer.
The city has had numerous redevelopments in the past few years, and soon will begin with the construction of a convention center. Recent projects included Highpoint Flats, Northtown 794, Berkshire Muskegon senior living, Heritage Square townhomes and Heritage Square Commons, and Lake View Lofts.
These developments brought numerous businesses’ openings to the city. Businesses include Rad Dads’, 18th Amendment Spirits Co., Vintage Redefined, The TISH salon, Dr. Rolf’s BBQ, Morat’s Bakery, Health Hutt, Café 557, Hamburger Mikey’s, Third Coast Vinyl, The Griffin’s Rest and The Humidor. It is expected to be more with new developments on the way. Rake Beer Project, Aldea Coffee, Redmon’s Kitchen & Bar, Capone’s Speakeasy and Pizzeria, Nipote’s Italian Kitchen, a credit union and a convenience grocery store, are all expected to be opened in Muskegon soon.