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'Splish - Splash' - The Grand Opening of Spray Park in Bay City

First Spray Park in Michigan State Parks

August 19, 2011       Leave a Comment
By: Julie McCallum, Entertainment Editor

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The Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area and officials of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources celebrated their Grand Opening with a Ribbon Cutting Event for Phase 1 of the new "Spray by the Bay" which took place on August 19, 2011 at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

Spray parks are rapidly becoming a refreshing new way for families to safely enjoy the fun of water on hot summer days.

Cathy Washabaugh, Chair person of the Spray Park Committee, said, "We are so delighted with the weather today, and everything is running wonderful."

Washabaugh continued,"This is truly a collaboration between Friends of the Bay City State Recreation Area, The DNR and The Bar Area Community Foundation." Washabaugh added, "Peg and Paul Rowley helped me through this process."

"It was January of 2008 when Eileen Curtis (President & CEO of Bay Area Community Foundation) and I started talking about this project, and now with the 1st phase complete, it was definitely worth the effort." said, Washabaugh.

According to Carl Lindell, Park Manager, this is the first spray not only in Bay County but in Michigan State Parks. And According to George Lauinger, Park Supervisor this has received the largest donation to the park

Elected officials were in attendance including, Jim Barcia, Terry Watson, Ernie Krygier. And special guest, Smokey Bear joined in on the celebration.

The Spray Park is located on the lakeside area of the Bay City State Recreation Area, in view of the magnificent Saginaw Bay.

Refreshments and hot dogs were provided by the Boys and Girls Club.

The universally accessible spray park is located immediately west of the 'Come Play by the Bay' playscape, which is another wonderful collaborative Friends project, built in 1997 in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources.

Phase 2, planned for next year, will bring even more water features and amenities. The Friends have raised $300,000 in contributions, and a great deal more in volunteer efforts and non-monetary donations, in collaboration with many businesses, foundations and individuals.

The DNR is also contributing to the project, thanks to 'Recreation Passport' dollars at work. The Recreation Passport is the new vehicle entry pass system based on a $10 annual pass Michigan residents may purchase from the Secretary of State when they also purchase their vehicle registration, allowing Michigan residents to enter state parks and boating sites, as well as express their support for one of the best state park systems in the nation. So far, the Passport program has been steadily achieving success.

These dollars will provide a match for the $300,000 raised by the Friends.

A Spray Park Endowment Fund has been established at the Bay Area Community Foundation to help provide maintenance in the years' ahead. You can donate to this fund by calling 989-893-4438 or on-line at For more information, email

(Above) Cathy Washabaugh, Chair person of the Spray Park Committee

(Above) Smokey the Bear joined the celebration and everyone wanted a photo with him, well almost everyone

(Above) Smokey the bear poses with Cathy Koebke and Chamber Ambassadors, Sue Pike, Andrea Hales, Meri Sue Engers and Estee Bowman

The Spray Park is located on the lakeside area of the Bay City State Recreation Area

(Above) Carl Lindell, Park Manger, pictured with Washabaugh. Lindell said, "Not only is this the first spray park in Bay County, but also the 1st spray park in Michigan State Parks.

(Above) George Lauinger, Park Supervisor and Cathy Washabaugh, Spray Park Committee Chair person, cut the grand opening ribbon with the Bay Area Chamber Ambassadors

(Above) Kids as well as adults cooled off and had fun during the wonderful sunny day!

BUY YOUR BRICK ! Two sizes of bricks available 4x8 and 8x8. Three lines of lettering can be put on the 4 by 8 for $25.00 and five lines of lettering can be put on the 8 by 8 brick for $50.00 (For more info call 686-2463 or email:

(Above) DJ Jeff Seifferly of Night Society Entertainment provided the tunes and sound system

(Above) Next year the park will be twice the size and many more umbrellas will be added, said Washabaugh

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