The last two days about 16 stately trees have been cut down in Copeyon Park by city DPW work crews. 

Unfamiliar with Copeyon Park?  Situated in the Fourth Ward with Pere Marquette Lake forming its western boundary, Washington Street to its east, and between the eternally unfinished Pere Pointe Condominiums to the north and Oxychem's Calcium Chloride factor to the south, Copeyon is the only park I know of where your first sight coming in (once you get past their sign juxtaposed against a realtor's sign implying the park is for sale) is of an unsightly electric power facility, as seen in the northeast corner of the overhead shot of the park below. 

Once you get past that, however, the infrequently used park actually has a lot to offer.  As noted, it sits upon the PM Lake and offers fishing and the ability to launch your small boat upon the water; it's not the best swimming hole, but you can definitely cool yourself in the hot summer months by wading out into it.  It has a public bathroom attached to a full service fish cleaning station and offers a pavilion and a playground for family or group events.  I've utilized it a few times myself, and always noticed the added benefit of being a great park to go to during the hot summer months because of the shaded areas around the playground and pavilion, and the cool westerly breezes that come off PM Lake.

As noted at a couple of city council meetings, a group has asked the council to approve using Copeyon Park as a location for a 'splash pad', which they describe as a nonslip surface featuring a variety of showers, streams, mists and sprays for recreational water play.   Think 'a little piece of heaven for your kid on a hot summer day'.   

This group had done a lot of planning for the project.  Other locations in Ludington were considered, but in the end Copeyon Park was picked because it had more going for it than many other sites (Stearn's Park would have had big maintenance problems with lots of sand getting into the system).  The Facebook group site they constructed had some June 16, 2016 pictures at Copeyon which showed where they had figured to place the pad. 

As you can see, it's plotted to be down towards the southwest corner of the park, where an open space exists that would hold it.

And this from another angle, looking south east.

That's why it was logical to presume that the tree-butchering of the midsection of the south-side of the park would have been done to help make this splash pad fit in.  One, maybe two of the trees reduced to firewood could have been diseased or otherwise deemed unsafe to leave standing for the installation of the splash pad.  The other baker's dozen of trees were healthy, and holding their own, yet they all had the distinction of being around where this splash pad was going in.  The two pictures following were taken March 27th by a citizen and posted on Facebook:

This picture was further back, you can see the one larger tree's wood had a mostly hollow trunk, there was only one stump left that looked less than healthy. 

Yet, according to the administrator at the Ludington Splash Pad Facebook page, they had no knowledge of this modification being performed at the park. 

With that in mind, the only person in Ludington who would have the authority to remove these trees would be the city manager, as noted in the city code:

Lud Code Sec 38-68:  No person shall in any city park do or cause to be done any of the following without first obtaining a permit from the director [aka the city manager]:  (1)  Willfully pick, saw, chop, cut, carve, remove or injure any flowers, seeds, blooms, bark, branches, twigs or leaves of any tree, plant, shrub, vine, bush or any other vegetation.

But why would he take out over a dozen of perfectly healthy trees, that are not otherwise interfering with anything and making Copeyon Park look like a park?  And why would he do so when he strongly urged the city to create a Tree Advisory Board, whose goals and objectives run directly contrary to what just happened, as noted as recently in the February 13, 2017 LCC Packet. 

If the goal of the city is to educate the public on why it's bad to cut down perfectly healthy trees, and if the city is so protective and controlling of trees in a private homeowner's right of way to thwart them from doing what they want to do on their property, why is City Manager John Shay directing that all these trees need to be cut down?

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Shade and leaves from the trees would have interfered with the operation of the splash pad. Shade would limit both the daily and seasonal use of the splash pad since the water isn't being recirculated or treated but instead coming straight from the tap, the splash pad will only feel good during the short 6 week summer heat season. Any shade will limit its usefulness further. And the leaves falling from the trees will clog the drains for the pad creating a daily mess. So it seems Shay decided the trees must go.

The location along Oxy Chem's fence was never a good location. A better area would have been the grassy area south of Copeyon Park's restrooms. This area is naturally more open and sunny. There are only 3 small trees there that could have been relocated rather than cut down. And it would be more convenient for moms both for parking and for being a shorter distance to the restrooms. But hey this wouldn't be Pure Ludington without Shay fouling it up somehow.

Good points, shinblind.  I'll have to ask the Splashers what the dimensions of their proposed pad is supposed to be, and see whether that would have been possible where you suggest.  On Monday, I sent a FOIA request to the city concerning records dealing with this lumbering foray, which should lead us to figure out whether its another one of Shay's follies.

Will the Splash Pad be drained directly into PM lake? I thought I read that somewhere.
If so are they required to get a discharge permit?
And if they are required how long does it take to get a permit?

Will the Splash Pad group reimburse the COL for the cost of tree removal?
How about the cost to hook up to water?
I hope they aren't using a lead gooseneck hookup. Wouldn't hurt if some independent source checked the Splash Pad for lead once it is up and running.

Also since water along the West side of PM lake drops off precipitously where the Splash Pad is proposed to be located, will this area also be fenced off in addition to the goose fence to minimize future liability should little Bubba run off and drown?

As for "Clear Cut Shay" prematurely ordering the removal of the trees before the COL gets busy with important fudgie tasks, well you do need to make space to run a water line. Will the electric hookup also be underground? It is approximately 300 feet from the road to the proposed pad location, will they be installing a walkway? A road? An additional parking lot? Again how much will any of these tack on to the projected cost?

I am in favor of a Splash Pad and Copeyon Park could use some sprucing up but I wish the powers to be to think things through before deciding these projects are compatible.

The leaves wouldn't have been a problem as except after a storm as the time of use is when the leaves aren't falling.I would think a early summer pressure wash would be needed to ready the area for use.Cutting down trees in a park makes no sense unless they are a danger.  The splash pad is a great place for smaller children to play during the warm summer day's as short of a summer we have. parents don't have to worry about the kids going in to deep. My thought is ,is the water ever really warm enough in the ludington infastructure  water system that anyone would  want to be in it?

Also, I never heard where the Splashpad people had the required donated funds to go ahead with this project. Anyone else hear? Last I knew they needed about $265K to do this I thought. I thought they said this spring they only had about $40K in donations. Unless there is going to be some grant to fund this great idea, I don't see it getting the money. Seems to me that if the city gets notice from the project volunteers that they have all the money, that's when you might remove some trees after everyone gets involved in it's location exactly.

As of February 9th, they crested the $100,000 donations mark, this is from their Facebook page, with a goal in the range of $300,000, keeping in mind they would like a little extra to splash over the rim.  At the August 2016 meeting this was discussed, they suggested the goal as $215,000.  It does seem logical to get all your affairs in order before you remove healthy trees for something like this, if that turns out to be why they removed them. 

I noticed when looking at this picture that Community Development Director Heather Tykoski is on the Ludington Splash Pad Committee.  That fact was never brought to the attention of the public when the city council voted to use Copeyon Park as the splash pad site in that August 2016 meeting, that fact should have been revealed at the meeting if ethics rules are to be followed.  We were told this was a group of private citizens.  I guess we can figure out who is doing all the signage for the upcoming park... 

So ludington gets all this money from pulling people over, or giving out tickets, putting people in jail for drunk driving and that town is so corrupt  then they cut down trees to put in this splash pad, maybe they should get read of all the corrupt people in this town and get new and improved ones that don't lie, and cheated everybody out of their money by putting people where they want them, I think the ones that should be some were are all these corupped ones . How come they don't go to jail cause ludington pays their ways out they seem to have a friend in the wood pile.

How can Heather baby be on that committee when she represents the DDA? Isn't this too a serious and obvious conflict of interest? How many times have we witnessed this type of behavior, right in our faces, and yet it still continues on and on?

Always something strange and always seems to involve intertwined officials... Looks like many trees would be shade for the splashpad... many trees look to be young...  some were old and deceased... some left seem to be deceased yet.  And yes I'm sure who will be making sign and t-shirts....  And there's also the $8000 per year water bill that COL will pickup if not also some or all maintenance costs...

City of Ludington footing the bill? More like the tax payers again.   Maybe they will just pump the water out of the bayou, You SAY What??   well Flint got away with it for awhile . Wouldn't put it pass this group to do the same.

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