We visited with a full house of residents in Holland this past week who were intrigued to learn more about the PlacePlans project, and how it will further the goals of the city’s strategic plan. Everyone was eager to discuss the opportunities that might emerge through strategic development of the City’s Western Gateway. The Western Gateway is a critical connection between the successful downtown district and the thriving Farmer’s Market and civic center area, ending at the beautiful waterfront park.
Discussion quickly turned to the opportunities that lay untapped in this key corridor, and ways that great design and effective strategic planning can converge to promote economic development. With numerous projects and initiatives underway the community is poised to create a truly unique urban space, distinct from the principal shopping district and complementary to the Farmer’s Market. Development of the Western Gateway would activate what is now a missing link, knitting together some of the communities best assets—the waterfront, civic center area, historic neighborhoods, farmer’s market, and the downtown district.
Ideas around food innovation emerged as a primary interest, with great discussion of ways that the farm market and major food producers in the area might utilize the Western Gateway as a hub for entrepreneurial activity related to the food industry. It was fantastic to hear the community members share such creative ideas about how to use what is best about that area to establish an authentic district that would add to the fabric of the community.