MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Workers are busy finishing up renovations to Muskegon’s LC Walker Arena in time for Saturday’s hockey season opener.
The $1 million face-lift includes a much broader, brighter concourse, new party decks and executive suites, a new kids’ area and an updated Rad Dad’s Tacos and Tequila Bar, among other additions.
The arena got rid of the upper-tier seating, which used to go all the way to the ceiling. There are still seats for 4,200 people, plus open space for standing and mingling.
“I really do think that a smaller venue bringing everyone together is just going to create a different, electric feel,” said Mike Hamilton, head coach of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Hamilton thinks the improvements could help the junior hockey team double attendance from last year, which averaged 1800 people per game.
Tickets are $10 for seniors, youth and military, $15 for general seating and $17 for center ice.
On the high end, for $800, you can book a suite for a night which fits 12 and includes food, drink, beer and wine.
The puck drops at 7:15 p.m. for Saturday’s season opener against the Chicago Steel.
Downtown businesses are hoping the arena upgrade will bring even more momentum to a revitalization that’s already under way.
“It’s really growing downtown,” said Eric Hoffman, co-owner of Unruly Brewing Company, which opened five years ago. “I hear nothing but positive things.”
In the past year, there’s been $50 million plus worth of development downtown with mixed use and public investment, according to Dave Alexander, Executive Director of Downtown Muskegon Now, an economic development agency.
Alexander said the arena upgrade is one of 12 to 15 construction projects that have been completed with more to come.
“Downtown Muskegon post Muskegon Mall Era is going through a historic transformation as is all of the community,” said Alexander. “The arena is a link to our past and critical to our downtown’s future.”
Among the future projects – a new convention center with construction estimated by the end of 2019.