Restoring the Land

From Neglected to Natural, Preparing the Site of the Holland Energy Park

For decades, a 26-acre district near Windmill Island wetlands sat largely forgotten by our community. The region was one of the first settled farmlands of Holland and at one point served as a pathway for an interurban rail system to Lake Michigan. But that was nearly a century ago, and since then had collected a mix of aging, environmentally neglected industrial and residential parcels.

In 2013, HBPW and community leaders concluded a power planning process with a decision to build a clean-burning natural gas generation facility for the community. We identified the 26-acre district as the best fit for the plant, given its proximity to downtown for snowmelt support and natural gas access.

What started as a site-preparation project soon became much more – an environmental and urban renewal initiative to restore and protect the natural space, battle invasive species and remove and recycle harmful materials scattered across the site.

Materials reuse and recycling were important priorities in handling waste at the site. Prior to demolition, we opened the residential and industrial properties we purchased to Jubilee Ministries, who collected furnaces, hot water heaters, vanities and other useful fixtures to be used in their home renovation projects city-wide. During demolition, we removed or recycled over 350 scrap tires, 590 tons of metal, 12,000 tons of concrete and 11 tons of asbestos-containing materials.

 Tons of Asbestos-Containing Materials
 Scrap Tires
 Tons of Metal
 Tons of Concrete

Now that construction has begun, the plant is taking shape as a vast improvement of the community’s eastern gateway. A community-inclusive effort yielded the striking, modern design that will serve as a learning destination and sustainable energy resource for decades to come.

Holland Energy Park Site: Before & After

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