Zeeland to establish new outdoor social zone

Ottawa County

ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — You’ll soon be able to grab a drink and explore Zeeland’s downtown district now that the city has been approved to set up an outdoor social district.

“I think that it will be a really big key to downtown development, sustaining the vibrancy that we’re still trying to recover from,” said the city’s marketing director Abby DeRoo. 

Zeeland is the first in Ottawa County to establish this type of zone. More than a dozen communities across West Michigan now have one in place.

The Social District Permit law allows communities to create boundaries where people can drink outside as long as the alcohol was purchased from a licensed restaurant. The districts must be approved at both the local and state level before customers can utilize them

In Zeeland, Tripelroot Brewpub and Public Restaurant are the two establishments allowed to serve drinks to-go for consumption within the district. 

“Customers can come down and if they have to wait for a table because the capacity within the restaurant is reduced, they have somewhere to be, they have something to do. They could get a beverage from either of our license holders and explore the district a little bit,” DeRoo explained. 

The state has approved Zeeland’s Social District, but city leaders are still working with the two restaurants to make sure that they have everything that they need to participate. The city is also working on creating more areas for seating and signage to mark the social zone boundaries. DeRoo anticipates it’ll be ready by the beginning of summer. 

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