Legacy Plaza grand opening celebrated.

July 1, 2021

Legacy Plaza grand opening celebrated.

By Kate Goodman, MCP Correspondent

LUDINGTON — The City of Ludington celebrated the opening of Legacy Plaza Friday, July 1. The design of the plaza, located on North James Street at Ludington Avenue, has been in the works for several decades.

“First native peoples to the settlers and developers through nearly 150 years of growth and improvement – the themes of progress that were planted years ago continue to echo through today,” Mayor Steve Miller said.

Heather Tykoski, community development director, described the Native American cultural influences of Mason County: “The first people in this area were the Native Americans. The Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi people formed an alliance known as the Council of the Three Fires.” Tykoski said the triangular fireplace at the entrance of the plaza represents the Council. The three sides of the structure acknowledge the three individual tribes, but in the center uniting them together. “As you look in the ground, towards the base of the fire pit, a circle of engravings can be seen representing the Seven Grandfathers: Humanity, Bravery, Respect, Love, Wisdom, Honesty, and Truth. With this fireplace and words, we honor the teachings and our Native American ancestors and friends who came before and still live in this area today.”

Not only does the new Square represent Native American culture, but the area’s maritime history as well. Starting with the transportation of lumber, through the current transporting of freights, cars, and passengers, associated with the S.S. Badger. “Ludington is a water destination,” Tykoski said. “But it still remains a deep water working port.” With this, the maritime history is represented by the Compass Rose located by the north end of the plaza. Signifying the navigational tools used by mariners.

In addition to the maritime theme, plaza developers wanted to pay respect to the original lumber mills and lumber barrens with a tribute of thanks for helping build the City of Ludington into what it is known for today. Replicas of the original lumber stamps are seen embedded into the ground throughout the plaza. “A fun interactive way to represent that part of history,” said Tykoski. Three stamps have been used throughout eight different locations of the Plaza.

To help celebrate the opening, State Rep. Jack O’Malley and State Senator Curt VanderWall made congratulatory remarks to the audience. Jay Sam, representing the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, said he was happy “to see various elements representing his culture.” 

To conclude the ceremony, Brandy Miller, executive director of the Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce, led the speakers, city council members, the mayor, and the audience in a celebratory ribbon cutting. 

The $2.1 million plaza replaces the old James Street Plaza, which was originally constructed in the early 1990s. 

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