Resident feedback to be utilized in developing Holland open space plan

April 13, 2022 | Lauren LeBel

HOLLAND - As the town of Holland works to complete their open space and recreation plan, resident feedback is being taken into consideration as they analyze recent survey responses.

Richard Haller, chairman of the Holland Open Space and Trails Committee, said the town encouraged residents to fill out a quick multiple choice, rating and short answer survey. In one month, 250 residents responded to the survey, which makes up about 10 percent of the town, noted Haller. He said the purpose of the survey was to assist in updating the open space plan, which needs to be completed this month.

Haller informed Reminder Publishing that the town has 170 acres of land that “became available.” Of that property, there are 17 acres on Stafford Street that is commercial land, purchased by the town. This land is not considered “open space.” However, behind those 17 acres, the remaining 153 acres is “open space forever,” said Haller.

He continued by stating that the town received a land grant and forestry grant from the federal government about three years ago. “Land Corporation always has a backlog and they shut down when COVID-19 hit,” which has delayed the entire open space plan process, said Haller.

On March 23, the Open Space Committee hosted a meeting, where the survey results were discussed, and ideas were shared among committee members and residents. Haller said with 153 acres of land available, they are “hoping to get the property closed on and work to develop a trail system.” With the forestry program, Haller does not think hunting will be able to happen on this land.

Aside from this land, there is open space throughout town that residents would like to see utilized. Some of the ideas mentioned in the survey responses included beach access for swimming. “It’s difficult because Holland Pond has a problem with the beach being closed,” due to algae, said Haller. In comparison, Hamilton Reservoir does not have beach access for swimming. “There’s interest in acquiring that,” he added. “It’s something we would like to do.” He explained that this would be a future project, funded by the land grant.

Other residents said they would like to have more sidewalks in town, along with signage for the historic buildings, as there are currently none.

Haller said 102 people want to have fitness trails with exercise stations. He added that locations for these trails is an issue, along with potential maintenance of the exercise equipment and signs that explain how each station operates.

Additional results showed that some residents would like to have a skating rink, playground and pickleball courts, to name a few.

The survey responses encompassed a variety of ages. At first, Haller said there were no kids or young adults responding, but after sending the survey link home with elementary students, they noticed a wider response.

Now that the survey is complete and results are in, Haller said the next task is to write, revise and report the results of the survey, to be shared with residents. Once the plan is complete, Haller said the committee will most likely visit the appropriate boards in town and discuss some ideas to move forward with implementation.

“This is a big plan,” said Haller. “I am looking forward to getting started.”
Reflecting on the process so far, he said, “I thought it was a really great survey. It was easy to fill out and took about four minutes. It was helpful in getting responses,” that were needed.

Share this: