Tomorrow evening, May 20th, a fundraising party is taking place in Ludington. The Doppel Dock party will take place at a pavilion on the Lake Michigan Car Ferry grounds just off the corner of Rath and Dowland Streets and proceed to the carferry. The party is named as a play-on-words of a German beer, Doppelbock, and describes the doppel (double) settings for the event.
Tickets are $49 and include dinner, 6 drink tokens (worth one 5oz pour each) and a souvenir tasting glass. According to the organizers, the event is the kick-off for the Legacy Park 'reimagining project' (currently James Street Plaza) .
The Downtown Ludington Board plans to enhance this gathering space by creating a walk through Ludington's history including a fire pit area to reflect our Native American heritage, a timber-frame pavilion as a nod to our logging heritage and artifacts from our maritime heritage. Names of donors will be recognized in a sculpture that will reside in the park. Visual design concepts will be revealed at the Doppel Dock party.
The weather is calling for fifty degree weather and rain showers that night, so let me do you a favor by saving you $49 and potential cold symptoms by not only giving you full visual design concepts, but also an accounting of what they plan on investing to change the James Street Plaza into Legacy Park, with some insight of how it was all thought out.
The idea of Legacy Park was revealed to the public with Jen Tooman (pictured left) and Heather Tykoski (right) introducing it in early April, some of the details had been leaked to the MCP on St. Patrick's Day. Shortly thereafter, I did some research on the designer of the project and unveiled my findings in Creative Corruption by Design, where ethical violations by public officials were noted.
At the time when the COLDNews introduced the topic, Tooman said the fundraising goal was set for $1 million to complete the ambitious project, and that the Doppel Dock event would kick off fundraising efforts. Shortly thereafter, I launched a FOIA request to find out why the modest changes amounted to so much money, and how these odd legacy concepts came to being in the first place.
It just so happens that the Legacy Park concept has been bandied about for at least three years, the first substantial public record comes from LIAA representative Dustin "Dusty" Christensen saying the cost estimate for the project was being figured out in an e-mail to Heather Tykoski, complete with an invoice for $1105 for his services up to that point. This was paid at the 12-1-2014 council meeting. On December 4, 2014, Christensen sent back a breakdown of the projected costs for Legacy Park:
Christensen explained that costs could be smaller than the $781,330 if bids came in favorably or cheaper options were used. Tykoski reviewed his estimate and was happy, thinking it may have been around 'doppel' of what he found:
Five minutes later, Tykoski sent the estimate and conceptual drawing to Kathy MacLean, who not only serves on the DDA with Tykoski as the DDA treasurer (the meeting noted was the 12-8-2014 DDA meeting), and not only serves as President of the local chamber of commerce, but also owns the adjacent and coincident property, which has benefitted with hundreds of thousands of dollars from state rental rehab and façade grants received through fraudulent means.
According to those minutes, no real discussions took place at that meeting, nor did any groundbreaking take place in 2015. What happened was the plan was held in mothballs for over the next two years after this, coming back basically unchanged in March 2017 from what was developed by LIAA's Dusty Christensen in 2014. This is shown below and can be seen in this .pdf file also.
It's rather odd that a high estimate of $781,000 turns into a $1,000,000 price tag when it comes down to raising money for a project that seems to have little impetus, and even less rationale by a city government that is looking for wild ways to avoid a one year projected shortfall in funds by considering adding/raising new municipal fees and beach parking. Especially when you consider that just raising the difference between the two figures would solve the shortfall problem.
So spend $98 to take your favorite date out to this party, avoid the rain and cold by getting under the tent and under decks, check out the larger pictures of Legacy Park they are sure to have, but don't fault me for laughing at your waste of a Saturday evening and your hard-earned money.
You know what's really sad, and really wasteful, the James Street bathrooms were slated for renovation back in April 2015, and in September 2016 those renovations were completed. Those weren't cheap renovations, I believe I remember the figure of $15,000 bandied about for at least part of the project.
They want to redo the bathrooms so that it fits their 'legacy' theme, and better hide those cameras...
Price of bathroom cameras are not cheap.
The hell of it is the ass end of this "project" will still stick out into two parking lots and not be an attractive setting when not being utilized as a Farmers Knickknack Market or a Beer Tent Pavilion.
It looks like a hodgepodge of afterthoughts.
Not enough lipstick to put on this pig.
1. The plaza is currently not a city park, it is a public space however, as it is atop the 100 block of North James Street right-of-way.
2. Chapter 14 sec. 1 of the city charter says only the city council has that ultimate authority
3. The DDA does need to follow the Open Meetings Act (OMA), and with few minor mistakes here and there, they do that. But almost everything they do is under the radar, and it's not recorded. Even when you have the minutes accessible, a lot of information on their discussions is lost. The DDA has their own budget, effectively independent of the city's, and by law their expenses and purchases needs to be available to the public. But even with my campaigns for open government, this entity, whose finances are basically oversaw by CDD Heather Tykoski and Treasurer Kathy MacLean, has an impressive record against transparency and honesty.
There is so much the city does without public knowledge; I will be having a new series coming out shortly showing some of this as accrues to 2015 and 2016.