'This is what placemaking is all about': Holland launches crowdfunding campaign for ice skating park

What’s happening: Building on the momentum of two $1 million donations in recent years, the City of Holland has launched a new crowdfunding campaign to help bring the community’s decades-long dream of an ice skating park to fruition. Organizers of the Holland Community Ice Skating Park project, as its known, attest that funding for the $8 million park is in its final stages and the recently launched crowdfunding campaign will get the project nearer to its goal.

A rendering of the skating pond and concessions building.What it is: The Holland Community Ice Skating Park project will activate an underutilized section of Window on the Waterfront Park to create a ribbon-style ice skating park that features a rink connected to ice-skating tracks that loop around the park and planned landscaped islands. The planned scope of the park aims to make it one of the largest ice rinks of its kind in North America, accommodating at least 300 skaters at a time and without overcrowding.

Background: Concepts for the Holland Community Ice Skating Park project date back to at least at least 1997 but a more recent chain of events – including $1.16 million in donations from local retired educator Frank Kraai and a $1 million gift from the Jim Jurries family – have really taken things to the next level.

[Related: Read “From one man's dream to a city's vision: Ice rink proposal for downtown Holland taking shape” on The Lakeshore.]

How they’re doing it: The project has been accepted into the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places placemaking initiative. Should the City of Holland successfully crowdfund $50,000 by Sunday, July 2, the MEDC will contribute a $50,000 matching grant.

The Holland Community Ice Skating Park crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity platform, which is available online.

View of the ice ribbon from Window on the Waterfront, looking toward 8th St. (Patronicity)

Extra ice time: In addition to building the ice pond and ice ribbon, organizers plan to create a curling rink, build a concessions building, and install new landscaping and benches, among other amenities and key infrastructure added. The park will also be utilized in the warm weather months in hosting live performances and events, and organizers are currently considering opening the rink to roller skating activities.

What they’re saying: “The Michigan Municipal League is a strong believer of the importance of placemaking projects in our communities,” Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League, says in a statement. The MML is a partner of the MEDC’s in their placemaking initiative. “This new ice-skating park is going to create a lasting, positive experience for the Holland community and will help bring people together. This is what placemaking is all about.”

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