About Norton Shores

Mission, Vision, Values Statements
Adopted June 6, 2006


 Mission Statement

The Mission of the City of Norton Shores is to provide effective and efficient services that afford our residents every opportunity to experience an exceptional quality of life. We strive to create a diverse and welcoming community under the leadership of visionary individuals who work well together in a professional, team-oriented environment.

 Vision Statement

The City of Norton Shores is a municipality committed to providing:

  • A high quality of life for residents to enjoy;
  • A safe and secure community;
  • Services of the highest quality at the lowest cost achieved through efficient operations and a dedication to innovation;
  • Long-term economic and environmental sustainability;
  • Opportunities for citizens to be actively involved in the process of governing; and
  • Continuous, positive development of our elected and appointed citizen leadership.   

 Statement of Core Values

The City of Norton Shores will:

  • Operate in an open and accessible manner
  • Display a positive attitude toward and be respectful of our citizens, neighbors, and visitors
  • Consistently be willing to explore opportunities for inter-governmental collaboration and cooperation
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to the natural environment
  • Emphasize innovation, creativity, and efficiency in our operations while anticipating and addressing issues raised by our citizens
  • Seek out and hire individuals who are committed to public service
  • Treat both our external and internal customers with the same level of respect and commitment to service
  • Respond with equal promptness and concern to all requests for service and/or assistance from city residents
  • Be good stewards of our financial, human, facility, and infra-structure resources 

 Attributes of Norton Shores

  • Place where residents feel safe and secure
  • Enjoy a high quality of life
  • Community is good steward of its natural resources
  • Sustainable economy with good job opportunities for residents
  • Good educational system
  • Social, economic, and cultural diversity
  • Young people desire to remain in and return to the City
  • The City is able to sustain a high quality of services to residents through outstanding customer service at the lowest cost through its emphasis on innovation and achieving high degrees of efficiency in service delivery
  • Residents willing/eager to re-invest in the community and city has consistent history of economic appreciation
  • City works diligently to encourage citizen involvement in the governing process and to develop future leaders through involvement in City projects, training, and education

 Community Profile

Norton Shores, Michigan, a young, growing, full-service city located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Muskegon County is well known for its natural scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, attractive neighborhoods and high quality school systems.  The community of 25,030 residents encompasses over 24 square miles.  Norton Shores is graced with more than six miles of Lake Michigan shoreline plus numerous public access points on Mona Lake and Little Black Lake.  Hoffmaster State Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Michigan.  The new .376 Dune Harbor County Park provides two inland lakes and miles of hiking trails. Several city parks, including three located on Mona Lake, offer additional passive and active recreational activities.  

Norton Shores might best be described as a rural/suburban environment with a balance of industrial, commercial and residential development.   Growing but controlled industrial parks are attracting high tech manufacturers which, while adding to the employment opportunities of the community, does not detract from the city's beautiful suburban setting. Three commercial/retail corridors are no more than five or ten minutes from any residential area.  The city is noted for some of the most distinctive homes and appealing residential communities in the greater Muskegon area.  Norton Shores has led the county in construction permits for many years.

Norton Shores offers excellent educational opportunities from the Mona Shores, Grand Haven and Muskegon Public Schools to its close proximity to Muskegon Community College, Baker College and Grand Valley State University.  High quality private parochial and charter schools are also available.  With its high quality of life, Norton Shores is a much sought after place in which to live, work and play.


The Chippewa, Potawotomie and Ottawa Indians for hundreds of years occupied the wilds of Western Michigan.  The Native American tribes were very protective of the natural environment Mother Nature put on this earth.  When the immigrants arrived they found openings in the forest made by the Native Americans, which were used to raise food.

Norton Township was originally organized in 1845 by settlers of the village of Mill Point (now Spring Lake).  The township was named in honor of Col. Amos Norton, a Canadian patriot who was implicated in the rebellion of 1837.

Norton Township was part of Ottawa County and also included the Townships of Fruitport and Sullivan.  In 1855 Spring Lake Township was detached from Norton and organized as a township in Ottawa County.  Norton Township was separated from Ottawa County in 1859 and became a part of Muskegon County.  The population of Norton Township in 1860 was 197 and in 1864 was 229.

In 1847 the first sawmill in Norton Township was built.  It was known as Robinson's Mill and was located at the head of Black Lake (now known as Mona Lake).

In 1850, Ira Porter arrived at Mona Lake.   He operated Porter Sawmill and a fruit farm.  One of the largest fruit farms in Norton Township was operated by G. N. Cobb who also operated a box factory for fifteen years beginning in 1869.  With the closing of the sawmills and the box factory, residents turned to raising fruit which became a very profitable industry.  Boats would enter Lake Harbor and make a trip around the lake picking up crates of berries at the docks of the growers.  They would then return to Lake Michigan with their cargo and transfer it to large steamers bound for Chicago.

Thanks to the Norton Township Volunteer Fire Department and the cooperation of the Norton Township Board, action was taken to incorporate Norton Township into a Home Rule City.  An election to determine if Norton Township should be incorporated into a Home Rule City passed by a two to one margin and nine charter commissioners were elected to draw up the first City Charter which was adopted on April 16, 1968.