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Restaurant, events center planned for closed park pavilion on Mona Lake

Renovation plans call for a restaurant and event space inside the long-closed Martin Luther King Jr. Community Pavilion at Mona Lake Park in Muskegon Heights.

Mona Lake Park's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Pavilion was once the premier summer gathering spot in Muskegon Heights.

But since the city closed the pavilion more than a decade ago, it sits unused right on the shore of Mona Lake. That is expected to change with the announcement the city has reached a deal with private investors to open a restaurant and event space inside the pavilion.

The Brown Suga Lounge and Event Center is expected to open in June of 2022.

"I always wondered why it wasn't being used," said William Roberson. "You see the rest of the communities around us building up and it's about time Muskegon Heights took part in that as well."  

"We're going to have the comforts and some of the components of soul food, but it's going to be something that makes your eyes pop and and your soul sing," added Fatima Roberson.

The Robersons believe construction and renovations on the building will begin in the fall of 2021.

"This is a beautiful site and it's not being utilized," said Muskegon Heights City Manager Troy Bell. 

The private public partnership will help Bell and elected leaders in Muskegon Heights achieve a goal to have more events and entertainment activities at the waterfront park. 

"We looked at ways that we could get this facility up and running and we didn't have the funds or financing," said Bell. "This is a perfect example of public private partnership. We foresee that Mona Lake Park would be an event center for thousands of people to come and enjoy."

The Robersons are eager to see the park and pavilion be a gathering spot similar to how they remember the space decades ago.

"Bringing people together in this building, bringing back some childhood memories that we was so fond of when we was young," said Fatima.

"As well as bring jobs to the community and entertainment for the citizens of Muskegon. And not just Muskegon Heights but Muskegon County and West Michigan," added William.

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