HOLLAND – Drawing inspiration from city rinks in Indiana and Illinois and public feedback, a city team developed the preliminary concept for a municipal ice skating park at Window on the Waterfront.
Going beyond traditional circular or square rinks, the city offers an “ice skating ribbon,” a model that has found success at Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park and downtown Elkhart, NIBCO Water and Indiana Ice Park.
The ice skating track starts from the circular part of the rink and forms a winding loop to the north that brings skaters back to the “pond”.
At several public meetings, the city gathered feedback on the ribbon concept and received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the idea, said Deputy City Manager Matt VanDyken, who is part of the city team in project charge. Most of the time, VanDyken said, people wanted to know how skating at the park would work and wanted to make sure the city incorporated restrooms and skate rentals into plans.
These rooms are included in the site plan which provides for a gathering space, or plaza, to the west of the ice pond and a facility for skate rentals and restrooms.
A curling area is part of the plans at the request of Frank Kraai, whose $1 million donation and advocacy moved the project forward.
The city hopes to make the square eye-catching for visitors to downtown Holland to draw them to the ice rink and all the park has to offer.
“The waterfront window is so close to downtown, but it’s really underutilized,” VanDyken said. “We talked about having a visual cue that you can see from Eighth Street. We’re talking about having lighting, having a visual design so that when you’re standing at Eighth Street and College (Avenue), you can to see it. It’ll be well lighted and it’ll take you north.
The extension of College Avenue north to Sixth Street goes hand in hand with the development of the northeast portion of Window on the Waterfront. The preliminary concept shows College Avenue connecting to an extended Fifth Street and a new entrance to Window on the Waterfront Park at an extended intersection of Fourth Street and College.
Sixth Street is slated for reconstruction next year, and the city plans to add diagonal parking on Sixth to maximize parking spaces near what is expected to be a big attraction.
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The ice skating park concept is designed for use in all seasons, incorporating walking paths and a plaza that could be used for recreational classes like yoga and tai chi, VanDyken noted.
The project is scheduled for the city’s fiscal year 2024 budget, which runs from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.
Following the engineering work, the city will present cost estimates for the project and launch a fundraising campaign.