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Windmill to be repaired

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:28 AM

The rotted wood in the cap of the Holland landmark was found during work to rebuild its observation deck. Beam replacement was part of a five-year plan for the windmill, but officials said that work probably will be pushed up.

“It is a maintenance issue that we expected to have to deal with,” said Windmill Island Gardens Manager Ad Vanden Akker. “The Dutchman who came over from the Netherlands to install the deck noticed the trouble.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how much it might cost to replace the beams in the windmill, which was brought from the Netherlands in the 1960s. The southwestern Michigan city is known for its Dutch heritage. The park might undertake a fundraising effort.

“Frankly, the city does not have the funds to put a significant amount of dollars beyond what we’ve allocated so far into the windmill,” said Assistant City Manager Greg Robinson. “It’s highly likely we’re going to need some other community contributions to do what we need to do with the windmill.”

Holland City Council in August approved spending roughly $235,000 to overhaul the observation deck. The former one lasted for more than 45 years. It was safe, Vanden Akker said, but was showing its wear. Similar windmill decks in the Netherlands typically last about 25 years, he said.

The current construction project is set to be finished this month.

The deck replacement continues as Windmill Island Gardens opened this year earlier than usual, due in part to recent unseasonably warm weather that’s led tulips to bloom earlier than usual. Stores and a carousel are scheduled to open, with reduced admission offered because the windmill is under repair.

Windmill Island Gardens is a popular destination during the city’s annual weeklong Tulip Time festival, which starts May 5.

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