A dozen years ago, after the demolition of the former Muskegon Mall, an eight-block area in the heart of downtown sat vacant, filled with sand, shells of vacant buildings and few people.

But community leaders behind the Imagine Muskegon campaign, led by the Downtown Muskegon Development Corp. (DMDC), had a plan and a vision for the site, starting with the rebuilding of Western Avenue in 2006. Then the recession hit.

As the economy slowly recovered, investors, developers and entrepreneurs hedged their bets on Muskegon’s untapped potential, helping to transform the desolate downtown into an area that today has promise, spirit and grit.

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