Round 2: Muskegon, MI vs. Greenville, SC

Welcome to the second round of our third annual Strongest Town Competition! 8 towns are facing off right now and 4 will advance to the next segment of the contest based on your votes.

We invite you to view the photos and descriptions that representatives from these two towns submitted to showcase their economic strength and resilience. Voting closes at 12pm CT on Friday, March 16.

Muskegon, Michigan

Entry submitted by: Mayor Steve Gawron, City Manager Frank Peterson, City Clerk Ann Meisch, Downtown Manager Dave Alexander, Chamber President, Cindy Larsen and many more.

Farmer’s Market

This new farmer’s market is the pride and joy of our community. However, the road to this point was contentious. The market was relocated from a neighborhood to the downtown.  It was an intense process, with input from farmers, planners, citizens, and politicians debating every step. The end result is a fresh local food source that doubles as an inclusive, community gathering place of people who care. 

Lakeshore Living

An old bank building that sat empty for nearly 15 years has been transformed into a hip, fresh apartment building attracting residents of all ages. The city, state and developer partnered to complete the project in this historic landmark at the center of downtown. Opportunities to live downtown are now a reality as this is one of 10 residential projects underway.  

Lakeshore Living-min.jpg

Attracting Cruise Ships

The growing cruise ship industry overlooked Muskegon in the early years.  The volunteers of the Chamber of Commerce and the county Visitor’s Bureau joined forces to create new programing and a beautiful dock on the edge of downtown.  Volunteers of “people who care” greet the passengers when they arrive.  Now Muskegon is known as one of the most popular ports on the Great Lakes because of the flower lined streets, local museums and friendly volunteers.

Cruise Ships-min.jpg

Complete Streets

The city is committed to complete streets as a foundation for neighborhood investment. Turning back the one-way streets to two-way, pedestrian and bike friendly streets have created a family neighborhood in the heart of the downtown. Soon the public transportation trolley will loop the neighborhood so residents can run errands or get out to the Lake Michigan Beaches.

Complete Streets-min.jpg

City Center

There is still work to be done as we have unfinished projects and empty lots to fill.  There are many jobs available for area residents, yet we will not be a sustainable community until our downtown is filled with middle-class neighborhoods with amenities for all.  In the meantime, empty lots are filled with activity and small businesses are supported in unique ways. All are attempts to plant the seed of growth for the future.

Strong Town #5 - Fire.jpg

Greenville, South Carolina

Entry submitted by:  Chase Anderson, Planner & Landscape Architect, Chase Anderson Design; Russell Stall, City Council member, City of Greenville; John Catoe, Engineering Associate, Alta Planning and Design; Mary Douglas Hirsch, City Real Estate Development Manager, City of Greenville; Nicole McAden, City Transportation Marketing and Program Specialist, Greenlink Transit

Falls Park

Falls Park is the place people of Greenville go to gather and participate.  It is home to many organized community events and simply a pleasure to be when nothing is going on. The park includes lush gardens, many places to sit and enjoy the water falls, and a program activities that include family movie night and Shakespeare in the Park Thursday-Sunday in the summer months. 

Source: Rani C. Robinson 

Source: Rani C. Robinson 

Saturday Farmers Market

Every Saturday from May 6 to October 28, Saturday Market is open for business on Main Street.  Patrons can purchase directly from the many local farmers in the region.  The market is only open to food grown or produced within 100 miles of Greenville.  After starting on a side street in 2003 with only 20 vendors, the market now stretches two full blocks on Main Street with 60 vendors.

Mice on Main

Mice on Main is a sculpture scavenger hunt for children on the sidewalks of Main Street.  The installation was a senior project of local kid, Jimmy Ryan, based on his favorite childhood story, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  Local sculptor, Zan Wells, produced the nine life-size mice that are strategically placed along Main Street.  Families cross paths and work together as they use posted hints to search the sidewalks for the next mouse.

Source: Rani C. Robinson

Source: Rani C. Robinson

North Laurens St

With the redevelopment of One City Plaza, one block of North Laurens Street was transformed into a pedestrian-only thoroughfare in the heart of downtown.  Pedestrians can have a shopping and dining experience in an urban park setting completely separate from auto traffic.    

Source: City of Greenville

Source: City of Greenville

Reedy River and Swamp Rabbit Trail  

The Swamp Rabbit Trail parallels the Reedy River as it enters Greenville’s downtown.  The multi-use trail stretches 22 miles along  the river on an old rail corridor to the neighboring town of Travelers Rest.  A study of the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail showed that 25% of the users in the trail’s third year were tourists who spent $6.7 million in Greenville County.  The trail was estimated to have  501,236 users in the third year, up 20% from the previous year.  The report included a survey of 19 businesses in close proximity to the trail.  Those businesses reported an increase in sales, some as much as 85%.

Source: City of Greenville

Source: City of Greenville

Voting is now closed.

Voting is weighted so that Strong Towns member votes account for half of each town's score and non-member votes account for the other half.