The City of Ludington and Prein&Newhof are honored as Legacy Plaza, an outdoor community gathering and event space in downtown Ludington, was named 2022 Project of the Year in the category of Structures Costing $1 million to $5 million by the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA-MI).
Legacy Plaza is a realized dream that has been almost thirty-five years in the making. The vision began in the 1980s, when the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) aimed to transform James Street into a community gathering place. In the following years, the area was increasingly closed to traffic until, in 2007, it became a pedestrian-only space for farmers markets and local events. However, the space retained its road structure with lots of curbing and tripping hazards. It was evident that achieving the community gathering space envisioned in earlier years would require more than just closing a street.
In 2019, the City of Ludington teamed with Prein&Newhof to help bring this dream to life. “Prein&Newhof provided cost estimating for the project. The City was then able to successfully apply for a $2.1 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) through a Community Development Block Grant (CBDG),” said Prein&Newhof Project Manager Matt Hulst, PE. With this grant in hand, along with $389,710 in private donations and fundraising efforts by the DDA, the city was able to move its Legacy Plaza dream forward based on Prein&Newhof’s designs.
Legacy Plaza’s name was chosen to honor the memory and contributions of the people who founded the Ludington area: the Native Americans—the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi tribes—that were the first to settle the area, and the workers in the lumber and maritime industries who built the community of Ludington. “The thematic design of Legacy Plaza is based on the value of community to celebrate the people who have called the Ludington area home throughout the years,” said Prein&Newhof Landscape Architect Matt Levandoski, PLA. Prein&Newhof provided site design, water main and storm water design, landscape architecture, and construction observation services. This work involved navigating previous utilities and working with other engineers, architects, and contractors to create an effective site design and utility plan.
Completed in July 2021 after about 10 months of construction, Legacy Plaza’s amenities include a concessions building and restroom, a large event pavilion representing the city’s lumber heritage, a three-sided gas fireplace representing the three local Native American tribes, a concert stage and lawn, lighting, and site furnishings. These elements are tied together with decorative concrete, lighting, and landscaping designed by Prein&Newhof Landscape Architects Paul Reinhold, PLA and Collin Manns and partners at Century A&E. Legacy Plaza is now equipped to serve downtown Ludington for years to come as a backdrop for a vibrant community with accessible usability for a wide variety of events.