In Your Community Q&A: John Henderson, Mayor, City of Ludington

Ludington, Michigan is a city of more than 8,300 people located along the shore of Lake Michigan in the northwest corner of the state’s lower peninsula. Consumers Energy  provides electricity to the city. We appreciate Mayor John Henderson taking a few minutes to answer some questions about Ludington.

What attracted you to this area and influenced your decision to move here?    

My wife Penny and I have lived here most of our lives. We have found Ludington to be a great place to raise our family; it’s a safe and wonderful place to live, work and play! Having Lake Michigan to the west and the magnificent state park to the north only adds to the beauty of living in Ludington!

What are the major challenges facing Ludington in the next 12 months?  

As most communities with reduced tax revenues and a declining tax base, trying to maintain city services without raising taxes will be the biggest challenges facing the city itself.

The other equally challenging concept facing Ludington is continuing to develop an environment where businesses will continue to grow and be successful, but also an environment where businesses outside of Ludington will look at what we have to offer as a community and expand or relocate to Ludington.

What are the three keys to keeping and attracting new businesses to Ludington?  

One way is to welcome them and work with them as a partner to create a united environment where we are striving for success for all. Secondly, continue to look for ways to help make them successful through improvement grants, tax incentives and working with them on city issues.  Third, show them that Ludington is forward thinking and moving forward as an exciting place to not only visit, but also live and work as well.

What is the City doing to encourage energy conservation and efficiency?  

 We are continuing to look for ways to reduce our energy demands, but have already taken steps to become more energy-efficient. Over the last year we have installed automatic light switches in areas such as the Ludington Fire Department and City Hall; this helps us reduce our electricity usage in areas where lights have been left on when not being used. We also have taken additional steps and installed new energy-efficient lighting in buildings such as the Ludington Fire Department. Recently, we have talked about potentially installing new, energy-efficient streetlights throughout Downtown Ludington. We will continue to find more ways to become more efficient.

We have also incorporated energy efficiency into our community events as well. Last year the City of Ludington, with help from local businesses, built a New Year’s ball for our annual “Light Up the Lake” New Year’s Eve celebration — which is currently the largest New Year’s ball in Michigan and has over 6000 color-changing LEDs.  

If someone had a day to visit Ludington, what would you tell them to do?

As I mentioned, Ludington is a beautiful place to visit, live, work and best of all PLAY! While Ludington is frequented mostly during the summer, we have many exciting things that happen year-round for people to do and see. My advice would be to walk through our wonderful downtown to enjoy some of the unique shops and restaurants. Spend the day at the beach, enjoying the fresh water of Lake Michigan. You can bring your skateboard and try our skate park at the beach or sit and enjoy the sunset from our sandy shores or take a walk out to the lighthouse on the break wall. We have million dollar sculpture park in Waterfront Park, which is nestled between two beautiful marinas and is the perfect place to watch the historic S.S. Badger dock at its home port here in Ludington. If you are looking for some excitement, come to one of our many events like our Freedom Festival Fourth of July celebration, Gus Macker basketball tournament, one of our Friday Night Live street parties or come back in the winter and enjoy our annual New Year’s Eve celebration and ball drop! As you can see, Ludington is an exciting place and there is always something to see and do!

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