December 1, 2021

Music Arts

Spearheading Arts Excellence

Regional leaders weigh in on U.S.-31’s escalating enjoyment corridor

5 min read

HOLLAND TWP. — In a half-mile corridor along U.S.-31, there is a sort of amusement for all people.

Once-vacant storefronts have started to fill up. In between Felch Road and James Road, people and visitors can discover a host of indoor and out of doors points of interest.

Area staples like The Misplaced Metropolis, a quarter-century previous arcade and laser tag center, and Nelis’ Dutch Village, an educational theme park, have been joined by businesses like X-Golf and City Air Journey Park in the previous Westshore Shopping mall.

This slide, The Rink on James Avenue will reopen under a new identify (RollXscape) pursuing a entire remodel. Just throughout the road, Zero Latency — the initial free-roam virtual actuality middle in Michigan — will open by Oct.

After the firms open, families and visitors can obtain golf simulators, a race car or truck simulator, a trampoline park, multiple arcades, mini-golf, laser tag, mini-bowling, a roller rink, totally free-roam virtual reality, warrior programs and a recently restored carousel — all in a day.

Much more:Community associates focus on house utilization alongside U.S.-31

Far more:Michigan’s very first no cost-roam VR center to open up in Holland Township

Much more:X-Golf Holland opens in The Stores at Westshore

That’s a major transform from two many years back, when U.S.-31 was littered with extra than 25 vacant storefronts. At the time, inhabitants had been concerned about the emergence of developments, which remained vacant, alternatively than redeveloping present areas.

The business local community is responding to those people problems.

“It’s fascinating to see the progress in household enjoyment facilities in our community,” claimed Jane Clark, president of the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce.

“These corporations are sensible to capitalize on our nearby industry, as very well as our strong customer population. The site along U.S.-31 is attractively situated — shut to city, but also along a major travel corridor.

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“These kinds of firms excel at partaking men and women of all ages at affordable price ranges.  They are a good way for households and mates to reconvene and share fun collectively at social gatherings pursuing the pandemic.

“They’ll make terrific spots for private celebrations these as birthday events and corporate events. They’ll add to our track record as a excellent spot to stay and visit.”

That enthusiasm was echoed by Linda Hart, govt director at the Holland Area Site visitors Bureau.

“I think it truly is outstanding, to be truthful,” she explained. “More exercise, specifically routines that people and people can do, only complements what we have as a neighborhood. We talk a ton about downtown, but we depend on individuals other property in the local community.

“It seems like a purely natural in shape and progression of functions that people and site visitors can take part in. I also feel it is so essential that our neighborhood repurposes what we can, alternatively than tearing down and rebuilding. The more we can do that, the greater.”

In the coming months, the intersection will be joined by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen area and Grand Rapids Local community College’s Lakeshore Campus. The campus was a milestone accomplishment for The Stores at Westshore, which has worked diligently to repurpose the former mall house soon after its deconstruction a half-10 years in the past.

“When the Westshore Shopping mall was there, back again in the working day, those streets and parking tons were being made for enormous amounts of visitors,” reported Township Supervisor Terry Nienhuis. “We are not anxious about the enhance in visitors flow. These roadways can manage it.

“It really is remarkable to see some redevelopment occurring in put up-COVID days. We already have the infrastructure there, so from a township standpoint, it really is a earn-gain predicament.”

The two-mile place bordering the amusement corridor is home to nine resorts. Three extended-remain hotels — Residence2 Suites by Hilton, StayBridge Suites by IHG and SpringHill Suites by Marriott — were concluded in the very last two yrs.

“Those people inns have been accomplishing notably perfectly,” Hart said. “They have accessibility to the northside, and they give site visitors the alternative of eating in their lodge room if they usually are not comfortable feeding on in a cafe but.”

Joe Nelis, operator at Nelis’ Dutch Village, is not astonished by the transformation. 

“It should have been 1990 when we were being involved in the city’s conversations on extended-phrase development,” he stated. “And I remember conference with them and saying, ‘Your leisure corridor is out by the highway.’ And I feel like that is superior for most people.

“The a lot more density you have, even even though you might be competing on a specified level, contributes to the plan that, ‘If we are heading to have entertaining, we’re likely to this space.’ Downtown is terrific, but there’s a strong focus on that location for dining and shopping.”

The Dutch Village has been around for a lot more than 60 years. For a lot of that time, the park was regarded for instructional demonstrations and record classes. Ten years ago, Nelis and his workforce determined it was time to change their concentrate.

“We have designed this transition from currently being an educational, historic attraction to a family-focused concept park,” Nelis said.

“In this working day and age, you can observe wood footwear staying created on YouTube. But when you have younger young ones, you know the total of interactions you have with them are constrained. Now, we’re a location to make reminiscences.”

That alter was highlighted with new signage alongside U.S.-31 and up to date points of interest, like a pirate balloon fight and petting farm, in addition to the park’s classic demonstrations.

“Everything we do, we check out to make it an practical experience,” Nelis explained.

“It takes place the 2nd you park your automobile and get started strolling towards our entrance and lasts until finally you quit in the reward shop and grab a little something that reminds you of the terrific day you had.”

— Speak to reporter Cassandra Lybrink at cassandra.lybrink@hollandsentinel.com. Adhere to her on Instagram @BizHolland.

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