I am going to be introducing a lot of ideas here regarding my mostly-objective research regarding the best location in Ludington to locate a 40' X 70' oval splash pad.  I am going to look at the important variables under consideration and issue findings that you may not totally agree with, but you should consider.  My inspiration for this research is from former Ludington Mayor Kaye Holman in a small speech she gave at the end of the last city council meeting, where she said at the 1:10:40 mark:

"We don't have an alternative that is as appropriate (as Copeyon Park).  I know that two weeks ago I said I don't want it down there either.  But you know what?  I don't know where else to put it.  That's an appropriate spot, and even though I have some negativity as I'm down at the yacht club every day, and I see things different than a lot of you do, because I'm there every single day.  I still don't know where else I would put it, and I think you're doing the best you can do.  Let's go with what we got.

Until somebody comes up with a 'this is a better spot', I think we have to go with what we got, and I think we are wasting a lot of time on this."

She almost sounds as if we are trying to find a proper place to put a nuclear waste site with her dejected fatalism, but this isn't a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), it's a place for fun.  And even though I am dead-set against a splash pad at Copeyon Park, I would welcome it as my neighbor if it were plausible, yet listen respectfully to my other neighbors when it came before the Planning Commission for approval (unlike this ever did).

So I accepted the mayor's informal challenge early the following morning, I used Google maps and my knowledge of Ludington to explore the realm of possibilities in a way I hadn't seen done yet (and I have read the half dozen committee meeting notes where the splash pad notion came up for discussion).  I then walked over six miles to do field research on each plausible site, looking at several variables.

First, a brief history of how Copeyon Park was selected by these groups of councilors acting outside of the Open Meetings Act, conferring with a Splash Pad Committee (SPC) composed of some city officials, but acting far outside of public accountability.

Early informal discussions considered a splash pad in City Park at around the time the Rotary Club made improvements to that park, but it wasn't made part of the plan.  On 4-29-16, the council's Building & Licensing Committee (B&LC) met with the SPC to discuss purchasing and building a splash pad at the old Slaggert property (the empty lot across the street and to the east of the Ludington Library).  They decided against it, because it's a terrible spot.

They met again on 5-26-16, and discussed Waterfront Park and dismissed it due to water and sewer line availability.  Splash Pad Committee member (and the City's Community Development Director) Heather Tykoski offered the James Street Plaza as an alternative.  Former Councilor Krauch felt strongly against that and suggested Copeyon Park to 'revitalize' the area-- Councilor Winczewski said it was the 'perfect' location, the B&LC approved the location, and there really has been no alternative under consideration since. 

Let's take a look at the strengths and limitations of Copeyon Park and where they plan on putting the splash pad (represented by a drawn to scale blue oval).

Access into the park is poor, the entrance is not ADA compliant due to the steep gradient, the safety coming in and out of the park is tenuous whether you are a motorist, a bicyclist or a pedestrian.  There is the geese issues that linger even with measures meant to deter them.  The location is far away from the meager restrooms, there is no changing area and not a lot of fixtures to accommodate a large crowd.  There is no good pedestrian route between the pad and the restroom, and I have a hard time seeing any without taking away parking.  As noted in committee meetings, there will be a bit of plumbing needed for supply and waste water.  A lot of live trees were cut down to open up a spot where the pad would receive sunlight.

Is this the only spot around Ludington that has splash pad capability and the least amount of drawbacks?  Hardly; the reason that our city officials overlooked them is that they only saw the inside of the box.  Typical.  The splash pad will only function between Memorial Day and Labor Day, what else occurs during that time?  Summer break for Ludington schools. 

There will be a lot of school property not being used for school functions during the summer.  Some of these areas provide the best places for a splash pad since parking, access, water supply, restroom/changing facilities, etc. already in place are objectively superior to what Copeyon Park has to offer. 

Can the City of Ludington and the LASD come to terms over the use of the property and sharing responsibilities?  They already do that with the local recreation programs, this will just be another proud example of how well they can work together for the public benefit.

I hereby offer the following locations, most with superior facilities as compared to Copeyon Park, all on public land, and all inside Ludington.

ORIOLE FIELD (4+ great locations)

Featuring lots of parking, two different bathrooms and concession areas, and flat terrain, Oriole Field offers a lot of value beforehand.  The best may be near the entrance, where the parents can take a little time off to play some pickleball, baseball, run a lap, etc., and still look over junior.  


Then either of these two locations would work out great, it might even be a good place for any of the Oriole's football teams to cool off during summer practice.

The fencing is already up around this possible splash pad area.  There may be some safety concerns during softball games, when batters are able to hit round-trippers.

Maybe you want the splash pad to have its own special area, well the northwest corner looks like it could be easily developed into a primo area, there's a hydrant nearby suggesting a water main.

All Oriole Field sites are, or can easily be made ADA-compliant, offer more and better restrooms and parking than Copeyon, and it's probable that the City can tie into the existing water and sewer lines built into this field for the restrooms and irrigation system.    


Two sites readily show themselves as good.  The first is just west of the Schoenherr Tennis Courts just north of the middle school.  The pad will not interfere with the youth soccer fields already present in that field, and even though it may be a distraction when they play during the summer, the coaches could promise them some time in the pad after a hard-fought match.

Going east, there's a spot near the LASD Administration Building that could be promising if the building could be used during summer as an auxiliary restroom and changing area (otherwise the Schoenherr set might suffice)

The last splash pad location on school property is what I think is the overall best, so let me delay that revelation for now, and look at another two places that I think has been overlooked on city-owned property offering more than Copeyon Park, down near the beach. 


The best would be just south of the Loomis Street Boat Launch parking area in an underutilized area where sand would not be a problem-- as there's no beach nearby, just seawalls.  Lots of parking, restrooms, access.  Or you could put it up on Loomis with a little more work, and offer extra rest and changing rooms down the street at the beach's south concession stand.


I looked at sites that seemed good from an aerial perspective, but fell short otherwise.  Here are some of those places:

-Waterfront Park:  There are two places that could accommodate the splash pad and not detract from the park itself and make it a kid paradise, but there is an overload concern, where parking and restrooms would suffer.  

-Dow/Oxy Park:  While a splash pad could work in several places here, there are no restrooms present and it is fairly remote.  It would likely see the fate of the original skate park and tennis courts installed nearby but gone now.

-American Legion:  A tailor-made spot is there and enough parking, however, it is on 'private' land, and the restrooms present are not currently public.  

-Municipal Marina:  Another tailor-made spot exists just a little west of the bathhouse if a tree or two is removed.  The City will have to allow the public restrooms be made available to the general public for this to work, and to cater more to them and family boaters who would enjoy a splash pad on site.

So what is the best site I looked at?  It's one that caught me by surprise, I never really gave it a thought before I did my research but it's the most ideal I could find.  About the only thing missing is a shady spot for the parents, so maybe the local concession area can rent out beach umbrellas.  


Don't be confused by the map, there is no 'Emily Street' going through, just the street right-of-way if one existed.  The existing restroom/concession area is substantial, the parking has a lot of spaces, and Longfellow Street offers additional street-side parking (as do other bordering streets).  Fire hydrants are directly north and south of this location off the street, so water supply won't be an issue, nor should waste water be a problem due to those nearby restrooms. 

The area is flat, like soccer fields should be, making it easy to be ADA compliant and any soccer practices during the summer months can be culminated by a run through the splash pad.  Parents have bleacher seats available, but benches can be provided, and they could bring their own chairs and enjoy some of what the concessionaires may offer on hot days.  

A sizable housing complex is directly to the south that has a lot of young families therein, even more family housing complexes are coming in just to the east on Washington Street, supplementing what was already there.  Washington Woods is just across Bryant Road to the north.  There is no geese issue, no trees need to be removed, it's fenced in except for the entrance, etc.  Yet it's placed in the center of a block, far enough away from residential communities to really cause an issue for noise or nuisance.  

Viewed objectively, it is superior to Copeyon Park in every way, and I would debate Councilor Krauch on the merits and demerits of both in any forum he wishes.  Except he moved away to Missouri in the midst of his term after all of these committee meetings not conforming to the Open Meetings Act and he cannot 'show-me' where I'm wrong.  Anybody else care to?

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Great job on research X. Before I would consider any spot, I have come to the conclusion that this pad is another unnecessary expense that will be paid for by taxpayers. Upkeep alone will cost a fortune. I vote no on this wasteful project, however if I had to choose, the Ludington soccer fields make sense but more parking may be required [more money]. As far as shade goes, It's better not to have trees. Leaves, pollen and debris would be a problem if there were trees adjacent. Many of the other spots you scouted would also fit the bill but unfortunately like all other matters that the CIty is involved with, they are tone deaf to any ideas not thought up by them. One more question, why should any Government agency be in the business of providing this type of recreation. Let private enterprise do the job. Oh I forgot, this will be another money pit and money pits are Ludington elites special gifts to taxpayers. The more I think about it the nuttier this pad sounds. We are limited to a very small amount of hot days in the area due to the cool breeze coming off the Lake, add to that the rainy days, also a short summer season plus empty taxpayer pockets and it all adds up to nonsense. Is this going to be a free attraction or will an admission charge be applied and how will that work out? Who is going to run it?  This is going to be a business so it must operate as such.

The question of whether the City of Ludington should maintain the costs of a splash pad was never brokered in front of the public, the first time it came before the public at a city council meeting on August 22, 2016 the council voted to approve the use of Copeyon Park for the splash pad subject to the decision of the splash pad's  final design.  The decision to spend taxpayer funds annually to maintain the splash pad, to pay the water and sewer costs, and a lot more was made at non-open meeting at the standing committee level without any notifications to the general public.

Ironically, the actual decision to choose Copeyon Park was made at a September 6, 2017 meeting of the Cemetery, Parks, and Recreation Committee, where four councilors chose Copeyon over Waterfront Park.  

"Four councilors making a decision of public policy, XLFD?", you may ask, "Wasn't that actually a meeting of the Ludington City Council, under the guise of a standing committee meeting?"  

Bingo, a violation of the Open Meetings Act by the City that is as clear-cut as Copeyon Park's forest was in 2017 to make room for the splash pad. 

Thanks for that information X. If I remember correctly when the trees were removed and there were public complaints, the reason given, for the removal, was that most of the trees were diseased and needed to be removed. The sneaky people that have served on the Council would fill a who's who book of corrupt politicians.

It is hard to understand who is more corrupt in the book of who's who in this case.  Was it Shay who authorized the clear cut a year before approval of the decision, or was it more corrupt in cutting the public out of any decisions being made, and who did that and who allowed it?  

Other considerations;

All splash pads need to be hosed off at the start of each day, pressure washing is even more ideal, to remove what ever grim accumulates over night (leaves, branches, trash, goose poop, pollen). Who exactly picks up this expense? 

Also the surface options for the splash pad are either a colored stamped concrete which leads to abrasion issues and lawsuit liability but has a 20 year life span. Or a synthetic plastic textured surface that is softer and more colorful but has a shorter life span of 7 years. Who picks up the cost of a replacement surface?  The surface amounts to half of the initial cost of a pad. And what about the timers for each feature? The lifespan of the timers and the pumps are about 5 years. Lighting, security cameras, restroom maintenance?

The unfunded $25K that the splash pad proponents promised for this is wholly inadequate nor does it allow for any future expansion if they decide to expand the splash pad to accommodate a wider age-range of users and thus the need for constant monitoring while in operation. This in itself would run around $10,000 annually if insurance is included.

TMI, shinblind, too many questions, bit true.  That's probably why they wanted to make decisions in private so they didn't have to answer too many questions.

I agree, Willy that there are way more important things to be done than a splashpad. More critical, even more necessary.  Even some less controversial.  But it this private group who went outside citizen involvement and raised the money and has this political clout to decide what is most critical for the city, then any of those locations X proposed are better than Copeyon Park, taking obligated paid or parking promised to fishemen and boaters.  Then the geese issue, the electrical substation and the entrance problem.  None of them will ever go away easily.


Picture this if you will...

A tree-less area that as it now stands is a vacant field with a ball diamond transformed.

A cool summer day.  Sunny with light winds.  The sounds of as bunch of splash pad'ers enjoying a refreshing spray of warm water to cool off. Different splash pad features for various age groups kids. A new restroom/changing room facility. A near by food truck with ice cream, soda, dogs, and the owner smiling as he hears the plaintive pleas of"Mom I'm hungry".  And Mom," I want to have my birthday party here, can we rent this."

And you may ask, but shinblind do you know how expensive it is to warm the water and recycling it. And so it is, except for the fact that nearby is a power generation facility. That also sells steam, and has waste heat. And a taste for city water. A torn up road to supply the water to the generation plant. Facilities to move the used water to a close by WWTP, or back where ever the nearby power plants returns their water. No chance of contamination by recycling. An extended splash pad season as you would not be limited by water temperature. Plan to install a pool in the future. Skating on plastic ice.

An enterprise that would turn a profit.

That spot could have been Dow/Oxy Park.

Doing something for the 4th Ward.

All that would have been required was a creative City Manager, a splash pad committee that can think outside the Grant Money box, and an insightful city council.

excellent idea!  shinblind.  That area was one of my first alternative location ideas.  I did have an hour phone discussion with 4th Ward councilor, Rozell who I originally thought it was her election platform and her proposal too.  But recently in email discussions, her ideas se to have changed.  And she says she has met with the splash pad committee, the builders, other cities councilors with similar issues and has come to an understanding.  I replied asking if she had considered involving those in her ward when she had all these discussions, especially at least two that I know of have asked her for multiple meetings.  I'm awaiting another meeting.

Meanwhile, Rozell did discuss with me quite very diplomatically issues for an hour and I brought up the oxychem field.  She said because we don't own the property and bathhouses would be too expensive that idea had been discarded by the decision makers.

I think all this should go back to the table and involve the public in discussions.

Other locations I would like considered is a fountain type built in the west end, since we have that pushed on us.  Bathhouses close, alternative swimming location to the beach.

Leviathan disc golf needs bathrooms .. and what a great place to cool off after discing.  And who cares if a few trees are removed in that forest?

More, but I'll save them for now.

   I do like the soccer field location . Without heated water to a temperature that will not cause pneumonia this project is a waste of money and will be a big  belly flop 

I would love to see it in the middle of Rotary Park. It is centrally located and walking distance to so many places. It would also be a nice alternative when it is too windy at the beach I think it would be sheltered enough there to still be able to use it. Plus there are already bathrooms there. It is also a lot more visible so it would get more use because nobody would see it driving by Copeyon park. It is too hidden and also too susceptible to vandalism after hours due to the remote nature. Putting it in the middle of Rotary Park would stop a lot of the troublemakers from messing with it. 

Sorry krazzz but the only trouble makers I see in the future are those that are proposing this wet water pit. This is going to cost umpteen thousands of dollars so kids can travel cross town to get wet. Wasteful upon waste. Help me understand what is so great about this idea that we should support it and waste money on it.  What ever happened to the old running in the sprinkler mentality. A City with lead piping should not be wasting money like this. If this was such a great idea some enterprising business person would have provided this already. I'm sure some have thought about it but after the numbers were tallied they discovered how deep the rabbit hole goes. I can just see the first lawsuit when a child or parent slips and breaks their thin skull. I'm sure the City will be glad to reach deeper into taxpayers pockets to scratch their itch for more moeny.


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