In Pella, the heart of the community is its people.
Mary Mansfield, a non-native Pella resident, felt that sense of community the moment she arrived.
“It’s a town that fosters personal relationships and where I can thrive as a difference-maker. I feel blessed to have stumbled upon this hidden treasure. Pella is home, in all senses of the word,” Mansfield says.
Pella is a small community in rural Iowa that has a full and rich heritage and history based in the Dutch tradition that is integrated into the residents’ daily lives. This small community is home to Tulip Time, a festival that brings thousands into Pella every spring. The beauty that blooms in Pella is truly spectacular.
“I love Pella and the celebration of its history through slowly spinning windmills, vibrant tulip beds, and stunning Dutch-inspired architecture. But I thought there was more that needed to be celebrated,” Mansfield supplied.
The “more” that needed to be celebrated? The spirit of Dominie Scholte, Pella’s founding father.
Founding Pella in 1847, Scholte was a leader, innovator, visionary, and supporter of the arts who uplifted and encouraged his people to dream big. To honor his spirit and passion, in the Fall of 2020, The Spirit of Pella was born.
Today the organization is dreaming big.
With a mission of fostering relationships and creating opportunities for connections, collaboration, and experiences that enhance their community, The Spirit of Pella seeks to inspire and invigorate the City through placemaking: a process of transforming public places into spaces that fit the needs and vision of a community. The initial vision: create a destination for community gathering. Their current project location: The Klokkenspel Plaza, mere steps away from the stunning Molengracht Plaza.
There’s no denying that the Klokkenspel and Molengracht Plazas are beautiful spaces that provide access to businesses, restaurants, and activities. Yet, neither plaza is configured to easily accommodate large gatherings. There are also elements, like the concrete benches, that are nearing the end of their usefulness. Spirit of Pella aims to breathe new life into these spaces with a design that naturally encourages community engagement and fosters a sense of pride in this vibrant City.
That’s where Klingner comes in.
“Words alone cannot express the importance of Klingner, specifically Kim Mulch,” Mary Mansfield says. “He serves on our Spirit of Pella Steering Committee and is an exceptional attribute. Klingner brings our visions to life, points out important details that need to be considered, and supports our community.”
The dream for this project is to both refresh their current focus, Klokkenspel Plaza, and preserve its beloved historic elements, such as the beautiful Dutch tile artwork.
Kim Mulch, senior architect at Klingner, is behind Klingner’s design for the Plaza. Kim and the rest of the Spirit of Pella Steering Committee met to address potential ideas for the updated space. In addition to a need for more seating, the brick buildings create a heat zone within the Plaza during the summers. The final design that emerged from these conversations adds tables and seating; a colorful new modern mural on the Plaza’s open wall to reflect the Pella of today; planters; overhead mesh canopies to provide shade; and ambient lighting that promotes gathering, socializing, and interactions between community members.
“This offers more space to meet and hang out in the exteriors and have more pop-up events,” adds Mulch. “Visitors will be able to use and socialize in the Plaza, especially with the steady influx of tourists from late April through October.”
After the Klokkenspel project has wrapped, the group hopes to tackle a grander design for the Mollengracht Plaza. Plans to add a fireplace as a centerpiece and seating for approximately 100 are in the works, as is an area for local musicians to play — a feature Mulch is excited to see built. “The music scene is becoming larger, and they want to emphasize the space to host these different things,” he declared.