MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — City officials pledged to make Muskegon Heights better and safer at the new mayor's 'State of the City' address, asking people to either get on board or get out of the way.
It was standing room only at Monday night's meeting. Those in attendance celebrated the city's $1.5 million fund balance while addressing racial tensions and city staffing issues: including the search for a city manager and permanent police chief. Mayor Sims and Interim Chief of Police, Dr. Joseph E. Thomas Jr., asked people to either get on board or get out of the way.
"That sign says, 'Welcome to Muskegon Heights,' it doesn’t mean everybody," said Interim Chief Dr. Thomas. "There’s some people that we don’t want, some people we want to move out. If you can’t be a part of the forward momentum of Muskegon Heights, then you know what? It’s good to know you because we’re going to do the best we can to ask you to leave town."
Mayor Sims talked about the city's need for a new image and the hope that one day Muskegon Heights would become a travel destination.
"You will see some tangible differences with this administration," said Mayor Sims. "You will come to City Hall, and there will be a different feel. You will go outside your home, and you will feel safe."
The mayor and interim chief agreed the city needs to take on the monumental task of searching for a "new normal."
"If you want to work, play, or if you want buy a home and start a business,m then you are our partner," said Thomas. "If you're going to rape our females, rob our stores, or sell our kids drugs, then we're going to drop you like a bad habit."
City officials are asking residents to step up, volunteer, and help make Muskegon Heights a travel destination, asking everyone to get on board, join the conversation, and help bring life into the community.
"For our kids to walk by the houses with the grass as tall as they are, to walk by a house with the door kicked in and the building boarded up, that’s not normal," said Sims.
Mayor Sims is encouraging more transparency, and even has some upcoming dates where residents are invited to have breakfast with her to give input on how to make Muskegon Heights better.
Check out the city's Facebook page for more information on what's happeneing in Muskegon Heights.