Closing Look: There’s No Place Like Hope

With apologies to one of American film’s most famous lines, there’s no place like Hope’s hometown of Holland and the college together, each enhanced by the other’s presence in an outstanding town-gown relationship that is the envy of many other communities and schools. For example, Ali Jesky of the groundskeeping staff is a member of the local committee that has helped the city earn multiple honors in the national America in Bloom competition. As civic leaders considered how to commemorate author L. Frank Baum’s connection to the area (he penned portions of his beloved Oz series while summering at Macatawa Park), she had the perfect suggestion — a living “plant mosaic” shaped like an open book — and the expertise to help install it and make it thrive. Added this summer to Centennial Park just west of campus and accessible by a yellow-brick path, it’s already become a favorite with visitors out for a stroll.