Holland Youth Connections Teens Work on Holland Energy Park Habitat and Outdoor Beautification Projects

– Holland Board of Public Works (BPW) is partnering with Holland Youth Connections to employ five at-risk local teens this summer on outdoor projects to sustain wildlife and beautify Holland's eastern gateway at the Holland Energy Park.

"These teens are working on the grounds of a legacy project, making the area look great and creating wildlife habitats," said Dan Nally, business services director at the Holland BPW. "That's something they can be proud of this summer, and every time they pass the Holland Energy Park thereafter."

Projects include assembling a hoop house that will be used for winter plant storage, assembling bat, bird and duck houses, and making other habitat structures out of brush piles, all near the wetlands and nature trails. Youth will also be planting native plants in the transition zone on the edge of the wetlands area to restore the "ecotone." The Holland Youth Connections teens are working on projects outside the construction area due to MiOSHA and youth labor law restrictions about youth working near construction areas.

"It is no coincidence that juvenile crime rates in the area continue to drop," says Ryan Cotton, Holland City Manager. "Participating employers get a great new resource for more productivity, the at-risk youth develop new mentor relationships, and Holland's families are strengthened from employer access to this program."

The City of Holland, along with Escape Ministries, Good Temps, Ottawa County Michigan Works!, West Coast Chamber of Commerce and Lakeshore Advantage, are among the Holland Youth Connections' community partners.

About Holland Youth Connections
Holland Youth Connections began in 2013 with 12 kids working through the summer at parks to improve the city of Holland and jump start their futures in the job market. The following year, over 100 youth age 14-17 held summer jobs at 20 work sites in the Holland area. The program gives young people the opportunity to gain work experience, develop solid work behaviors, provide helpful services for the Holland community, and form positive relationships with peers and supervisors. Anyone ages 14-17 who is willing to commit to working hard for 10 weeks, this year from June 16-August 20, is considered for youth positions. Supporters can donate to Holland Youth Connections c/o Finance Department, 270 S. River Street, 49423.

About Partners Involved in Holland Youth Connections BPW Project Site
• Barton Malow is the Engineer/Procure/Construct (EPC) contractor of the Holland Energy Park and will be volunteering time to oversee youth workers.
• Progressive AE is the project's architect and landscape designer of record and will be volunteering time to oversee youth workers.
• Landscape Design Services will donate their time and supervision as well as use of their facility, containers and other planting materials for the projects.
• Walters Gardens is donating plants for the teens put into containers at Landscape Design Services.
• The Holland BPW will be volunteering time to oversee youth workers.

Recycling Collection Event on May 16 for Appliances and Electronics; Rebates Offered on Select Items

May 12, 2015, Holland, Michigan – Spring cleaning can literally pay this year if you turn in your old, but still-working refrigerators, freezers, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers at the Recycle Rewards collection event on May 16. You may also drop off your old working and non-working electronic items (CRT TVs and CRT computers not accepted), at the event to be held at the Holland Board of Public Works, 625 Hastings Ave., from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Residential customers of HBPW and Consumers Energy can earn $50 each for up to two freezers and refrigerators, and $15 each for up to two room air conditioners and dehumidifiers.  

“This is a convenient opportunity for area residents to lower their electricity bills by getting rid of those old inefficient appliances that are still running in their garages and basements, and they get a check from their utility,” says Anne Saliers, HBPW community energy services manager. “It also reduces overall energy consumption, which will help Holland win the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize.”

HBPW and Consumers Energy are working with JACO Environmental to ensure proper removal of the Freon before recycling the materials. Customers have the option to call 877.270.3519 to schedule a pick-up of working refrigerators and freezers from their home if they cannot make the event.

Volunteers from Grace and Hope Churches will be on hand to collect electronic items, such as computers, televisions, cell phones, VCRs, microwaves and more. The churches work with Comprenew, which wipes all data from the electronics and does the disassembly and recycling, thereby keeping them out of a landfill. Funds received by these groups for the recycled materials help fund their Creation Care ministries.

“This is the fifth year that we are offering the Recycle Rewards service to our customers,” said David Koster, HBPW general manager. “The collaboration among the various companies and the community groups continues to be a benefit for everyone, and the environment.” 

A new addition to the event this year will be the West Ottawa High School Robotics team. The team will be selling Cree LED (light-emitting diode) light bulbs and demonstrating some of their robots.

“The light bulbs are $10 per bulb. The proceeds benefit the West Ottawa High School robotics team,” said Saliers. “LEDs use 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent and can last more than 20 years when used 3 hours a day.”

Holland BPW customers are eligible for LED rebates for up to $5.50 per 60 watt equivalent bulb (limit of 40 bulbs per account per year). Rebate forms for the appliances will be available the day of the event.

New Era of Energy Independence Under Way for Holland Community

Groundbreaking ceremony marks commencement of major construction at Holland Energy Park

Holland, MI — The greater Holland community took a big step into its energy future today with a groundbreaking ceremony that celebrated the commencement of major construction on the Holland Energy Park.

"The important conversation about energy that has taken place in our community for most of a decade has brought us to today," said David Koster, general manager of the Holland Board of Public Works. "This is an exceptional community that undertook an exceptional process. Now our
task is to carry out the will of the community with the creation of an exceptional facility."

When it goes fully operational early in 2017 the $200-million Holland Energy Park will showcase a variety of environmental and aesthetic considerations that include:

• A bold, modern building design that creates an attractive eastern gateway to the city

• A 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions and the virtual elimination of solid particle pollutants

• Double the fuel efficiency of Holland's present power generation

• The development of open, public space that will integrate with the Macatawa Greenway trail system.

• An expansion on Holland's innovative snowmelt system and, potentially, district heating

The facility will use the latest combined-cycle natural gas generating technology to produce up to 145 megawatts of power to meet the needs of a growing community.

On hand to help celebrate the occasion were representatives from a number of partners in the project, including HDR, Barton Malow and Siemens Energy. They were joined by Mayor Kurt Dykstra and other community and business leaders.

"The Holland Energy Park will serve our community as a resource, a gateway and a destination," Koster said. "This is a very exciting beginning."

Holland BPW Rate Adjustments Support Continuous Capital Improvement

The board of directors at the Holland Board of Public Works has voted to approve rate adjustments that will continue to fund needed infrastructure improvements. As part of the utility's continuous improvement plan, the adjustments include one-year water and wastewater rate increases. A three-year electric rate plan was approved in 2013.

If approved by Holland City Council this May, the adjusted rates will begin on July 1st.

"The capital investments in infrastructure prepare our community for the next 50 years," said Tim Hemingway, president of the HBPW board of directors. "Proactively and methodically investing in the electric, water and wastewater utilities help to ensure our long term operation costs remain low and our rates competitive."

HBPW's infrastructure improvement strategy includes such projects as water main replacement, sewer main replacement, and lift station improvements. The three-year electric rate adjustment schedule will help fund construction of the new Holland Energy Park, to be operational in early 2017.

"There are real, tangible benefits our community will enjoy from these infrastructure investments," said David Koster, HBPW general manager. "Those include things like cleaner, more efficient energy, and improved wastewater handling and treatment," Koster said.

 “Additionally, the investments help ensure we are providing reliable service to our customers,” said Koster. “According to last year’s customer satisfaction survey, 98 percent of customers agree that reliability is the most valued attribute in a utility service provider.”

Funding for capital investments comes from rates. HBPW utilities operate financially independent of each other, and each has its own rate pricing structure.  The combined rates planned for July 1 will average an increase of 16 cents/day or about $4.92/month for residential customers.

“It is very important to remember that even with the planned increases, Holland BPW customers will continue to benefit from across-the-board utility rates that are among the lowest in the region,” Hemingway said.

According to information from the Michigan Public Service Commission, the HBPW rates for the average electric residential customer, are expected to remain at least 20 percent lower than the state’s two largest investor-owned utilities.