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Holland block party denied by downtown business group

8:29 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Last year, a downtown block party brought thousands of visitors to Holland. New Holland Brewing wants to hold the party again this year, but a group representing downtown businesses doesn't want to let that happen.

"They sent us a letter of the denial," says Brett VanderKamp, president of New Holland Brewing.

VanderKamp received the letter from the PSD, or Principal Shopping District, stating that the request was denied because part of College Avenue would have to be closed for the one-night event.

"Their contention was that it was a street closing and that it would affect other businesses," says VanderKamp.

WZZM 13 looked into what impact the street closing could have on traffic and found that taking an alternative route only took an extra minute to get back to the same spot.

The owner of Lemonjello's coffee shop, which sits on College Avenue supports the block party. "If it brings people downtown, then that's a bigger impact than a street closure," says Matthew Scott.

"They walk downtown, see other businesses," says one Holland resident.

"I don't think for one night closing the street is a big deal," says another woman.

Last year, VanderKamp says the event brought at least 3,000 people, without any issues.

WZZM 13 tried to contact several PSD board members including the president, but they were either unwilling or unable to comment.

"The odd thing to me was when we asked them if anybody was actually at the event, nobody actually attended the event from the Principal Shopping District board," says VanderKamp.

VanderKamp says the party will go on, one or way or another, whether it's outside on the block or inside the brewery.

The block party is scheduled for June 8 starting at 4 p.m.
The Holland City Council will discuss the issue at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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