The City of Ludington held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday afternoon for the first splash pad in Mason County.

Located at Copeyon Park, what started as a single spinning hose has now officially become an open splash pad for the community to enjoy.

“It takes a community to dream it,” said committee member Todd Schrader. “It takes a community to support it, sponsor it and it’s going to take a community to take care of it… this is just awesome.”

The idea to build a splash pad all began about seven years ago with Julie Schrader and the Mason County Great Start Parent Coalition, originally hoping to have sprinklers installed at a local park. A committee was formed, and the more they thought about it, however, they wanted to go bigger.

“We offer mini-grant contests from time to time so that people can submit their ideas for small improvement in the community,” she said. “We developed a committee and we wanted to make a more permanent presence in the community in the form of a splash pad. We’ve been working for a few years now on this, raising funds, and here we are.”

The long road to build the splash pad was worth the wait, as right away, children of all ages rushed it when the ribbon was cut. Tim Large was present with his 2-year-old granddaughter Hannah, who upon seeing the water begin to flow, giggled and yelled with joy.

“She really didn’t know what was going on, but once the water came on, she figured it out real fast,” Large said with a laugh.

The splash pad offers another fun and local activity for children to partake in, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing at the pad is encouraged and very much possible, as committee member Stephanie Reed laid out.

“It’s something that (the kids) can stay apart doing,” said Reed. “They can play but they can also be apart. I think it’s a safe place to go, and it’s just something unique and different, especially now that lots of other things, they can’t do.”

Ludington Mayor Steve Miller was thrilled by the enthusiasm shown by the community and looks forward to the ripple effect that the splash pad could have in the city going forward.

“It’s another opportunity for us to show how our community cares,” said Miller. “This is another great addition that the city continues to build upon, one project after another, to keep improving our city. Our city has a great look at the future. As small of a part as this is of that, it’s an important part.”

The splash pad is scheduled to be open from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year, unless the city determines that the weather is warm enough to warrant keeping it open longer into September. It is also open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This story was modified to clarify the idea of starting the splash pad.