For years, I drove up Green Street in Muskegon Heights to get to to the radio barn. Day after day, there sat the Mona Lake Pavilion. It was there, but realistically, you could hear the ghosts of what was at one point or another pretty much anywhere in town. It seemed that the good times of yesteryear had all been boarded up and that only a few pictures of what was and memories held by those who lived the experience of the "glory days" in any neighborhood in Muskegon were replaced with graffiti, empty bottles, trash and other unsightly garbage that to some, became our narrative. The park itself got a major boost when they did the ball diamonds over and fixed up the basketball area, the one guy who walked his dog through there about 9:30 every morning seemed to enjoy that, but...that hulk of a building back along the beach....it sure seemed lonely.
Well, it's going to get a major shot in the arm over the next year and by this time in 2022, Mona Lake's pavilion will be home to a multi level facility with a restaurant on the bottom and up top a magnificent space for events and gatherings with stunning lake views and with a restaurant specializing in soul food and Caribbean menu items as well as upscale drinks or as they are referred to now a days "signature cocktails" served in an atmosphere that will be comfortably upscale but not out of touch for the average diner in Muskegon. Will Roberson and his wife, Fatima Lashun Roberson are the two incredible people with the vision and drive to make this a reality and their investment into this part of the community..well, to me it shows that we are on the rise in more ways that one and in more than just one spot in "Muskegon".
Will is no stranger to grabbing life by the horns and making it happen. Just before the pandemic hit, Will opened an employment agency called Shoreline Staffing. It seems Will had the knack for helping friends find work when they were in need or moreover, he had a way of finding the right workers for business that were looking. Well, then we all know the story of that broken record. Tough times were ahead for all, but Will and his staff managed to survive and keep finding people work through the darkest of days. The spirit of business ownership is in Fatima too, she runs a wedding and event planning business called Exquisite Dreams. This is where the power of 2 combined into 1 with the belief in our community and those around them really start to make a difference. Working hand in hand to make things happen and realizing that those glory year memories only need a little shine put on them, well ok, sometimes a lot of shine put on them and mountains can move for individuals, old buildings or entire communities. It seems that the new way of doing things in Muskegon is kind of circling back to the old way of doing things....if you want them done, do it yourself.
Will and I met up at his Shoreline Staffing Offices just off Henry Street to talk about the new endeavor. You might be saying "We saw this story a while ago", and yes you might have. However, it was of paramount importance to us that we didn't step on any toes, like say a certain Soul Filled Chef we already have here with us about another new restaurant coming along....and LaKisha said "go for it". So without further adieu, meet Will Roberson and learn what's coming in the Summer of 2022.
Get ready. The boom in Muskegon is booming in every corner and to know that such a destination will be right on the edge of town, and a new way for people to get a first impression of the "City of Friendly People" is going to be a massively great thing. Our most sincere congratulations to the Roberson's and best wishes for their opening next Summer. We'll be there hopefully for the big moment when they get things opened and a whole new chapter of the Mona Lake Pavilion is written.