Resident feedback is to be used in the development of the Dutch open space plan

HOLLAND — As the City of Holland works to finalize its open space and recreation plan, resident feedback will be incorporated into the analysis of recent survey responses.

Richard Haller, chair of the Holland Open Space and Trails Committee, said the city is encouraging residents to fill out a quick, multiple-choice, rating and short-answer survey. In one month, 250 residents responded to the survey, accounting for about 10 percent of the city, Haller noted. He said the purpose of the survey is to help update the open space plan, which is due to be completed this month.

Haller informed Reminder Publishing that the city has 170 acres of land that have “become available.” Of this lot, 17 acres on Stafford Street are commercial land purchased by the City. This land is not considered “open space”. Beyond those 17 acres, however, the remaining 153 acres are “open space forever,” Haller said.

He added that the city received a land grant and a forest grant from the federal government about three years ago. “The Land Corporation always has a backlog and they closed when COVID-19 hit,” which has delayed the whole open space planning process, Haller said.

On March 23, the Open Space Committee held a meeting to discuss the poll results and exchange ideas between committee members and local residents. Haller said that with 153 acres of land, they “hope to close the property and work on developing a trail system.” With the forest program, Haller doesn’t think this land can be hunted.

Aside from this land, there are open spaces throughout the city that residents would like to see utilized. Some of the ideas mentioned in the survey responses included access to the beach for swimming. “It’s difficult because Holland Pond has a problem with the beach being closed,” Haller said. By comparison, Hamilton Reservoir has no beach access for swimming. “There is interest in acquiring that,” he added. “That’s something we’d like to do.” He explained that this is a future project funded by the land grant.

Other local residents said they would like to see more sidewalks in the city, along with signage for the historic buildings, as there are currently none.

According to Haller, 102 people would like a fitness course with exercise stations. He added that the locations for these trails are an issue, along with the possible maintenance of the exercise equipment and signs explaining how each station works.

Additional results indicated that some residents would like an ice rink, playground, and pickleball courts, to name a few.

The survey responses included a variety of age groups. Haller said no children or young adults initially responded, but after they sent home the link to the survey with elementary school students, they noticed a broader response.

Now that the survey is complete and the results are in, Haller says the next task is to write, revise, and report the results of the survey to share with residents. Once the plan is ready, Haller said, the committee will most likely visit relevant bodies in the city and discuss some ideas to move forward with implementation.

“It’s a big plan,” Haller said. “I’m looking forward to the start.”
Regarding the process so far, he said: “I thought it was a really great survey. Filling it out was easy and took about four minutes. It was helpful to get answers’ that were needed.

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