Mayor Nancy DeBoer, on and off the job

By David Hoekman

After serving on the city council for 10 years, Nancy DeBoer was elected as Holland’s first female mayor in November.

DeBoer told Urban St. that never in her wildest dreams did she expect to serve in political office.

“Things happen that you don’t expect,” she said. “I am very humbled and honored to be able to serve this city in this capacity. I love this city. Serving is a joy and a responsibility. It’s very fulfilling for me.”

On the job
Redevelopment of the Holland Civic Center is at the top of Madame Mayor’s list of priorities.

Edgewater Resources, the design company the city hired for the Civic Center redevelopment, has set up an intensive schedule of stakeholder meetings, resolution processes, public input meetings and steering committee meetings.

The city council should be getting a Civic Center redevelopment plan in mid-March.

“I am thrilled with the pacing and the depth of it all,” DeBoer said. “They have talked to all different groups. The uses and interests are vast at the Civic Center. It’s a huge undertaking to get all of that input and they have done a great job of it.”

DeBoer said she hopes the Civic Center will serve as a family room for the community, a place where everyone feels welcome.

“I would love to have a long-term plan that could be phased in,” she said.

The Civic Center redevelopment is one of many public and private projects currently underway in the city, such as the natural gas power plant under construction at the new Holland Energy Park, a new West Michigan Airport Authority terminal, a new downtown Courtyard by Marriott and the Georgetown University Energy Prize.

Off the job
A former English teacher, DeBoer admits she enjoys interior decorating, landscape design, writing and music. She met her husband in a music education class at Calvin College.

She serves as the volunteer executive director of the West Michigan Character Council and writes awards presented to community members who do things that show good character.

DeBoer’s husband Jim is a music teacher who recently retired from Holland Public Schools. He directs Awakening, a summer institute at Hope College, and is an adjunct associate professor of music at the college. Their family includes Eric and Sarah DeBoer (parents of grandson Caleb); Maria and Steve Darrow; and Jordan DeBoer.

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