As regards the Copeyon Park Splash Pad in Ludington, the public always seems to be the last to know.
The idea of having a splash pad in Ludington evolved as early as 2012, with some talk by private groups but no apparent involvement by city hall. Community Development Director Heather Tykoski (in the yellow pants) put the development of a splash pad as a footnote in the 2015 Five-year Recreation Plan, and unbeknownst to the general public, she became a very active member of a 'grassroots' group called the Ludington Splash Pad Committee (LSPC).
Rather than have the general public know of or being involved in any discussions on splash pads, this group, made up of city officials including the aforementioned CDD, held not only their own secret meetings, but had multiple meetings with city standing committees. These committees then could hold a meeting on a moment's notice and not have to even appear as if they were abiding by the Open Meetings Act. Several citizens including myself were quite involved with Ludington politics and it was totally under our radar until it went to council for rubber stamping.
In at least three meetings with the Building & Licenses Committee and at least three more with the Parks Committee, over a dozen decisions were made that would eventually find its way before the Ludington City Council on August 22, 2016, where all of those already-made decisions figured out with the approval of a majority (quorum) of city councilors in the secret committees they allowed then were approved without further meaningful deliberations in front of the public.
The level of secrecy was bad enough so that a lawsuit against the City was filed in 2017 to remedy their system of secret committee meetings and to bring light to the political process. To their credit, the City has slowly cured many of the issues after settling the suit, and they have had to bring the issue up openly at meetings where the public properly questioned their process and decisions made without their prior consultation.
Fast forward to late morning on July 2nd, 2020: a ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at the splash pad, attended by members of the secret society known as the LSPC, their kids, and other specially invited guests with their kids, where they usher in the splash pad.
The general public was once again ignored because this ceremony's mention is nowhere to be found, even in social media, until after the ceremony was done.
On the LSPC Facebook page, the grand opening of the 'Pad' was never announced. In October 2019, they shared a picture of it in an early stage of construction, and on May 5th, they expressed regret that the facility was not going to be done in time for their planned opening in the spring due to the pandemic. They finally put up pictures of the 'grand opening' ceremonies, after the fact, on July 2nd.
Which beat the local newspapers first reminder to the public that there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony and that the Pad was open, which was done finally on July 3rd, the next day. The MCP 'scooped' them by putting out a video (likely made before the ceremony) out after the ceremony. While the City's Facebook page offered their coverage a half hour later:
But wait, there's more.
Let's suppose they never mentioned this to the public for a reasonable reason, such as they were worried about parking spaces, as they should be, or that they wanted a special photo opportunity of those who made this all possible without a bunch of kids running around and a bunch of parents yelling. That could explain their secrecy, but explain this when we blow up that lower middle picture a little more:
The five councilors pictured above were all summoned to appear at this secretly arranged gathering, they had the picture taken above (sans lettering). This was a quorum of city councilors, this was not a chance, social gathering, this was not a conference, so why isn't this a meeting of the Ludington City Council, and why wasn't notice posted of it? Are we blithely supposed to believe that they didn't discuss any aspect of Ludington's public policies, when they were waiting for their group photo-op, and/or afterwards?
Three of these councilors (Bourgette, Rozelle, and Miller) are currently being sued for alleged intentional violations of the Open Meetings Act by going into closed session on December 7, 2019 without any rationale existing or stated, this occurred the meeting after they had voted to go into closed session without a proper quorum. Secret, shady stuff continues in Ludington.
Very incomplete looking, it makes a very bad first impression. Hardman Construction should be ashamed of calling this a finished project, leaving stink pools, hoses, electrical cords, and an overall shabby appearance as their product, it's a far cry from what they did at the Lake Michigan shoreline this last winter in mitigating erosion to the west of the Maritime Museum.
Hardman Construction? Isn't Todd Shrader the president? So what? He donates $10k to kickstart the splashpad project and then gets paid to do the work? Made himself a profitable, probably no bid job? Sounds about right in Ludington. If this is true. Anyone know more? Of course all this information is probably unavailable to the public behind the Splashpad private committee. Who knows how these monies are funneled around. And with as much as $500k recently funneled from one Piper Tax, can hardly trust anyone anymore. Where's the transparency in a city-backed project? They should be sued to have to reveal the costs because in the end, I'm sure a lot of money to construct the splash pad came from city coffers and city personnel were down there working almost everyday in the past few months.
Is this the same Todd and Julie Schrader that were on the splashpad committee? If it is, wonder how much of the $300,000 splashpad money he got? Well that's a fine donation. Many kids painting many rocks and all of a sudden they get enough to complete the project with no financial transparency. Something smells stinkier than the stagnant ponds they left at the waterfront. Turn a blind eye. It's all done for the good of the community. Just like thinking up a new years ball drop and giving the contract to your husband, or another need for signs and of course, we know who is the best sign maker, so no need to get bids.
stump, the splash pad project costs was a moving number, mostly obscured and seemingly changing, but it was up there at least $250,000. It was a secret squirrely way to keep facts from the citizens by the way the splash pad committee was allowed to operate. That's why the city got sued because not only did they not provide any minutes for the splashpad committee, their subcommittee meetings did not notice the meetings according to OMA law, nor did they provide mi utes according to law.
From the newspapers or the Ludington Torch is the best way one found information. The city didn't disclose the information.
Below is an article from OCP:
Oceana Co Press
Splash Pad to be ’19 Lake Jump beneficiary.
October 17, 2018
Ludington Splash Pad design.
Splash Pad to be ’19 Lake Jump beneficiary.
LUDINGTON — The Ludington Splash Pad project will be the beneficiary of the 2019 Ludington Lake Jump, scheduled for Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Each year the Lake Jump raises thousands of dollars for its selected beneficiary. The splash pad is being planned for Copeyon Park. To date, the committee has raised $120,000 of its approximate $250,000 goal. Funds will be used to build the splash pad and also to create an account to maintain it.
Those wishing to make a donation to the Splash Pad project may send a check to Community Foundation for Mason County, PO Box 10, Ludington, MI 49431. Write “Ludington Splash Pad Fund” in the memo line.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Stephanie Reed at 231-920-1355.
Anyone ever wonder how much a mature tree "drinks" up?
HOW MUCH WATER DOES A TREE DRINK? A healthy 100-foot-tall tree has about 200,000 leaves. A tree this size can take 11,000 gallons of water from the soil and release it into the air again, as oxygen and water vapor, in a single growing season.
The reason I bring this up: imagine how many gallons of water those 17 mature trees that were butchered out of Copeyon Park drank up. Let's say 10,000 gallons a growing season, a little on the low side of average, for easier math. Wouldn't that be 170,000 gallons of water. Maybe that explains a bit about some of the stagnant ponds left around the splash pad now. Not to mention how much oxygen they put I to the air.