The Stanco property has been vacant for several years. It is adjacent to the downtown and one of the City’s oldest neighborhoods, with homes dating back to the 1800’s. The site can be viewed from the City’s Grand River waterfront and local farmers market. The Old Town district includes residents with the low/moderate income level; some are homeowners, tenants and investment properties. The property is a gateway to the core commercial district and sits between the “Old Town” neighborhood and the urban core. Considerable investments have been made in both the downtown district and “Old Town” and this piece of land and commercial building is one of the few remaining sites that is underutilized, overgrown with weeds, boarded up and a building that is often a target for vandals. The building and surrounding property are run down and in need of a facelift. The area surrounding the property provides residents and tourists an opportunity to enjoy the City’s natural resources with close proximity to the Grand River, Chinook Pier Shops, mini-golfing, local Charter Fishing and City Marina. Two historic assets are also adjacent to the property, a Pere Marquette 1223 Steam Locomotive and coal tipple.
The Mural Mania, which is an event within the Grand Haven ArtWalk, is an ideal opportunity to bring local residents, visitors, amateur and professional artists together to beautify the neighborhood and improve the overall appeal and aesthetics of a key area of the community.
The Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority (MSDDA) will invite artists to paint murals in a competitive art event, called Mural Mania in September 2012. Members of the public will also be invited to create works of art on canvass which will be set up on the project site bringing together professional and amateur artists. Mural Mania will challenge artists of all kinds to create unique works of art on the two largest sides of a vacant building, greatly enhancing the building, property and connection between the downtown, waterfront and “Old Town”. A once visually blighted building will be reenergized, brought to life and help continue efforts of community development partners and the one hundred plus volunteers of the MSDDA to create a unique sense of place. Great efforts have been made to build and sustain a vibrant, thriving historic downtown district through community efforts and private and public partnerships. Mural Mania will help the MSDDA achieve that mission. The project will engage a wide variety of individuals of varying socio-economic backgrounds, unifying a cross section of Grand Haven through art. This project will bring partners from throughout the area together for a common goal. Volunteers, artists, community members, businesses, are committed to unite together to improve and enhance the physical attributes of the downtown district for residents and visitors to enjoy and
“spark” conversation about art and what it means to a community. This project will generate additional activity, interest and investment in this area of Grand Haven. Mural Mania will physically improve the abandoned structure and generally make the area more appealing. In addition, the project will continue our efforts to promote “arts” as a critical component of a vibrant downtown.