A study by an interdisciplinary team of GVSU researchers reexamined the economic impact that coastal restoration to Muskegon Lake is having on area property values and recreational opportunities for the surrounding community.
Paul Isely, associate dean and professor of economics, first analyzed the housing market surrounding restoration sites along the southern shoreline of Muskegon Lake in 2011. His original study predicted $11.9 million in additional housing value and an additional $2.8 million annually in recreation value.
Using data from 2018 and 2019, Isely's team found the total value of shoreline improvements based on home sale prices to be estimated at $7.9 million, and the value of additional recreational benefits estimated at $27.9 million annually.
Erik Nordman, associate professor of natural resources management, conducted the property value model; Julie Cowie and Kendra Robbins provided research support.
Isely said the increase in recreation value between the two studies is due to additional restoration activity across the lake and a larger increase in the numbers of visitors than what was forecast in 2011.
"There have been major improvements to Muskegon Lake and the downtown Muskegon area," said Isely. "However, the additional visits to the area in this study can be attributed to the lake. Cruise ships are coming to Muskegon Lake, more people are purchasing homes, launching boats and going sailing. The improvements are drawing people to Muskegon Lake even more than we thought."