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Holland snow-melt system running despite lack of snow | News

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Holland snow-melt system running despite lack of snow

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Despite a lack of snow this season and a record-high temperature on Wednesday, Holland's snow-melt system is still running.

WZZM 13 is getting reaction from some downtown business owners who help pay for the snow-melt service even when it's not needed.

In downtown Holland this time of year, it's what you don't see above ground that's the big payoff from the city's underground snow-melt system.

"The streets are clear," said Maribeth Van Zalen, co-owner of JB and Me. "It's really something we pay for in the long run and it's so worth it."

But in the short-term, as in this season so far, there hasn't been much of a need.

"It definitely hasn't been put to use this year at all; I don't think we've gotten enough snow to actually have it work," said Andrew Fris, manager of Fris.

However, the snow-melt is still running nonetheless. Downtown business owners help pay the energy cost.

"It doesn't bother me this year that there is no snow -- it'll come," said Van Zalen.

"There's years it snows in October and it snows in April, so I think in the end it balances out," Fris said.

In the November 2014 story at this link, WZZM 13 showed the difference the snow-melt system makes for the streets that have it. The year before that, it was so cold that city leaders proposed a 20-percent fee increase to offset the snow-melt's higher energy costs.

"If it's not working, that's fine, too; it just means the weather is a little nicer outside," said Fris. He suspects business is even busier because of the nicer weather. "I think there's a little more traffic this year; people aren't worrying about driving in the snow to the snow-melt."

However, if the snow does decide to show, they're ready for that, too.

"I think as the year goes, we'll see we are happy we have it," Van Zalen said.

The city is in the process of expanding the snow-melt system. The Holland Board of Public Works says new infrastructure built earlier this year should be running sometime next year.