HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — City leaders in Holland will cut the ribbon and officially open the newly renovated Holland Civic Center on Saturday.
Mayor Nancy De Boer and Civic Center Board Chair Nathan Bocks gave 24 Hour News 8 an early look inside the $16.5 million project Friday.
When visitors stop by the new building, they don’t even have to step inside to see how much it’s changed.
“We pulled the front of the building out toward the parking lot, so we’ve got a beautiful glass-filled atrium inside,” Bocks said.
First inside is the “family room” with a fireplace and coffee shop. Upstairs, visitors can find what are called the “social stairs,” leading to a dividable space that overlooks the “grand hall” below.
On Friday, the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce held the first event in the space.
But it will also host Holland Christian basketball games, and the city hopes much more as well.
“We wanna do wedding receptions, we wanna do quinceaneras, we wanna do corporate events and conferences,” Bocks said. “But we still want people to come in here on a Tuesday after and be able to play basketball in the grand hall. Because this is Holland’s home.”
What catches visitors’ eyes most at the new Holland Civic Center is not what’s new, but rather what was kept.
The original silver letters that welcomed visitors for decades are seen upon entering. Old bleacher seats have been repurposed. The “memory wall” is a tribute to the 60-plus-year history of sporting events, concerts and more.
“It’s kind of like our family photos up there,” De Boer said. “And you can just kind of walk along and enjoy the different eras.”
“They (visitors) feel immediately that this is a brand new beautiful space,” Bocks said. “But they feel at home as well, because there’s over 60 years of memories here.”
Developers also focused on what’s been a major draw at the center for a long time: Holland’s farmer’s market.
A new indoor market space has been added to the first floor next to office space, and developers have plans to redo the outdoor canopies that line the entrance.
A concern from farmers during development was parking, but Bocks said thanks to a new structure nearby, they’ve added nearly 300 new spaces.
The Civic Center has also dedicated a space to the memory of Ruben Gomez-Vasques, who was killed while working on the renovations last year.
The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday.