One benefit of having the Holland Energy Park natural gas plant close to downtown is that it can support expansion of our snowmelt system. Currently, Holland’s snowmelt is at maximum capacity, supported by the oldest operating coal-fire unit at the James DeYoung power plant. Clear sidewalks, streets and parking spots have been a major factor in attracting businesses and customers to the downtown commercial district year-round since the snowmelt system was first installed in the late 80s. As the district continues to grow down 8th Street and with proposed changes to the Civic Center, it will be important that the snowmelt system grow as well to promote continued economic growth.
With the completion of the Holland Energy Park slated for early 2017, HBPW expects to transition the snowmelt system over to being entirely supported by the new plant next year. As anyone who drove through Holland would have noticed this summer, construction crews have already made significant progress on installing the new headers, which will carry warm snowmelt water to and from the plant, under 8th Street and down Central and Columbia Ave. Additional work on 9th Street this summer will help complete the layout of new headers.
Holland’s system represents the largest municipal snow melt system in the United States, and the advantages for the community are clear: no snow and slush, increased safety, extended pavement life, and increased activity downtown to name a few. Downtown owners, tenants and customers alike all benefit from this system, and HBPW is committed to growing and sustaining it for years to come. For more details and a history of our snowmelt system, take a look at the linked brochure from the HBPW: