When the James De Young Power Plant on the waterfront of Lake Macatawa retired in 2016, it triggered an opportunity to discuss what the future of the property should be. This led the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works to ask a larger question: what should the future of the entire waterfront of Holland look like?
They approached Boileau for strategic communications counsel on a community-wide public engagement campaign to get the community’s input on what the vision for Holland’s broader waterfront should be for decades to come.
In partnership with experienced consultants and city planners, we helped craft the public relations, communications and messaging strategy for this important process.
This included the development of a logo, a campaign name, a brand statement and key messaging around what Waterfront is, why the visioning project was important, why we needed the public’s input, and how they could participate. With a solid foundation, we deployed a microsite as a hub to answer questions, provide information and post campaign updates. We also assisted in the development of materials and promotions including direct public engagement, media engagement, and social media to reach out and engage the public. We worked with the City of Holland’s video team to produce two videos: one to kick off the public engagement and another to wrap the results.
The city also decided to host a series of events which we supported through event management, planning and execution. These included a kickoff event, two tour dates for the James De Young property and power plant, a community visioning exercise event, a boat tour and two charrette summary events. We helped with communication to ensure that the public knew about the events and what they were for.
The City and Board of Public Works were successful in creating a vision statement, a vision diagram and guiding principles for the future of Holland’s waterfront. The city council has now adopted that vision and framework and will be looking at opportunities to develop and manage the waterfront toward that approved vision for the next 50 years.