Muskegon, MI officials have approved a $100,000 study on the L.C. Walker Arena, which could receive restaurant space and other enhancements.
L.C. Walker Arena first opened in 1960, and is currently home to the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. City officials are trying to modernize the venue, while also making it more versatile. A rum distillery and restaurant on the arena’s east end have already received approval from the city commission, and could open early next year.
Now the city is wondering whether it can spur similar development on L.C. Walker Arena’s west end, and is tapping the expertise of the Detroit-based Rosseti Architecture. While the upgrades are seen as a solution for generating more revenue and giving the venue additional purposes, officials are hoping that the study will map out a way to make the enhancements without hurting the rest of the arena. More from MLive.com:
Rossetti indicated it will “develop a concept to rebrand the L.C. Walker Arena to enliven the Western Avenue streetscape, create opportunities for new tenants within the arena, and provide concepts for alternative fan areas. Design consideration will include relocation of existing toilets to make room for additional program on the Western Avenue side of the arena, potential seating reduction to allow for flexible program opportunities, and inclusion of new upper floor area for fans.”
The city has been striving to improve use at the arena to offset ongoing costs of its upkeep, including about $180,000 in utility bills the city has had to subsidize. The arena’s biggest ongoing user is the Lumberjacks junior hockey league team.
L.C. Walker Arena has hosted minor league hockey for much of its history, dating back to the Muskegon Zephyrs in 1960. In addition to the Lumberjacks, it is also home to Champions Indoor Football’s West Michigan Ironmen.