Details emerging on the new fireplace, splash pad/ice rink in Cadillac Heritage Plaza

Via Cadillac News

By Chris Lamphere

CADILLAC — You might have heard in general terms that the city intends to build a fireplace and splash pad/ice rink in the new Cadillac Heritage Plaza.

These generalities are beginning to give way to specifics, as details about both these projects are gradually coming to light.

Cadillac Community Development Director John Wallace said while a few things are still being sorted out, planners have a pretty clear picture at this point of what both projects will look like when complete.

The splash pad/ice rink is being funded in part by efforts of the Cadillac Leadership Class and will be located nearest to Elk Avenue on the east side of the Plaza.

The splash pad will consist of dimensions of about 40 by 50 feet and the ice rink will be 30 by 50 feet.

In the summer, it will be a splash pad that sprays water from a source connected directly to the city’s water line.

In Traverse City, a splash pad was reported to have been spraying unclean water because of issues with the system they had in place to recycle the same water over and over again.

Wallace said this could never happen in Cadillac because they won’t be recycling any of the water but using fresh, clean water all the time.

If the splash pad were to spray fresh water during all hours of the day, however, it could become quite a cost burden on the city, which is why it will be turned on through a trigger.

Wallace said users will be able to turn on the water for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. When the time has elapsed, users simply need to activate the trigger again to run the water for another 10 to 15 minutes.

He said it still is being determined what the length of time will be for the water to run each time the trigger is pushed.

“The time the water lasts will be a balance between cost and the user not having to constantly turn it back on,” Wallace said.

In the fall, an acrylic sheet will be placed over the splash pad by city staff to emulate ice for skating.

Wallace said the synthetic material has a very similar feeling to ice when being skated upon, but with slightly more resistance.

“You might notice being tired out a little sooner than you normally would skating on ice,” Wallace said.

The fireplace will be located directly to the west of the splash pad/skating rink, near the entrance to the city park.

None of the Heritage Plaza projects are expected to affect the location of the Shay Locomotive or city fountain.

Some details are still being worked out, but Wallace said the fireplace should be around 10 by 10 feet in size.

Unlike the splash pad, which will be open to users at any time, Wallace said the fireplace likely will be controlled by a few, select individuals.

“This is purely a matter of how difficult it will be to operate,” Wallace said.

The gas-fed structure will produce substantial amounts of heat.

Wallace said there will be benches placed eight to 10 feet away from the structure so people can sit down and enjoy the warmth on a cold day.

While it will not burn wood, Wallace said there likely will be a visible flame visible inside the fireplace’s hearth. Separating the flame from the outside will be glass on all sides.

The fireplace and splash pad/ice rink are tentatively scheduled to be finished by July 4.

Both are part of the overall Cadillac Heritage Plaza project, which is the second project in a series of four included in what has been dubbed as the “Cadillac Commons.”

The Cadillac Commons includes the newly-renovated Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion, Cadillac Heritage Plaza, open air farmers’ market and extension of the White Pine Trail into downtown.

The Pavilion renovations will be complete by Memorial Day while the Heritage Plaza and farmers’ market are scheduled for completion later this summer.

The White Pine Trail extension won’t be done until next year.

At a recent Cadillac City Council meeting, Lindsey Westdorp, from Bit Social Media, made a presentation outlining a marketing campaign to promote the Cadillac Commons.

This campaign will include new logos with distinct shapes and colors so people can quickly identify which part of the Cadillac Commons development is being referred to at any given time in any number of advertising mediums.

There also are plans to erect banners featuring these logos and shapes.

Westdorp said she is in the process of working with the state to begin a second round of crowd-funding to generate cash for the Heritage Plaza project.

The first was hugely successful, raising well over the $50,000 goal needed for the city to receive matching funding to renovate the Rotary Pavilion.