HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — An ice rink in downtown Holland is getting closer to breaking ground thanks to generous donations from the community.
The rink will be built at the Window on the Waterfront Park near East 6th Street and College Avenue.
It will feature a new section of heated street in front of the rink along with heated sidewalks that will connect to others already operational in the city.
An ice rink in downtown Holland has been a dream for decades. Retired teacher Frank Kraai wanted to do more to support the project and donated $1.1 million.
“I think this community is rare in what it offers people and I think it’s a way of trying to give back to a community that has given me everything in life and I think a very rich life,” Kraai said.
Kraai enjoyed ice skating as a kid and wanted to help his community get a rink to rival others throughout West Michigan like in South Haven.
“They have that wonderful ice rink down there and that really … made me see I think we can have something,” Kraai said.
A power station will be removed, creating additional space for the project.
“I truly believe we’re gonna have a wonderful ice rink. It’s gonna be here on this land in this area and it’s gonna be different,” Kraai said.
Holland is still finalizing the design and how the refrigerated ice rink will be positioned on the property, according to City Manager Keith Van Beek.
“It’s gonna have a pond but off that pond is a ribbon of ice so people can kind of do the circle skating in the middle but then they can take a nice leisurely skate around that ribbon of ice and return back and there will be fireplaces,” Van Beek said.
The city manager says they expect the rink to be operational for four months of the winter season and will be visible from the fire place near 8th Street and College Avenue.
“You’ll be able to look north and see the lights of the ice rink and really be drawn into this space,” Van Beek said.
Construction will begin later this summer and finish next spring with the rink opening for it’s first official season in the fall of 2024.
“It’s going to be a gathering of people, a nice atmosphere and they’re gonna be having fun and if people are together having fun. I want to be there,” Kraai said.
The new section of heated street will run on 6th Street from College to Columbia Avenue.
“We’re so excited to really turn downtown Holland not just from a three-season location but to a full four-season, year-round location, so the city is making over nine million dollars of investment into 6th Street,” Kraai said.
Frank’s $1.1 million gift inspired the Jim Jurries family to match it.
The project is working to raise the remaining funds. If you would like to donate, you can learn how through the city’s website.