Parents raise concerns about safety at splash pad in Ionia

Ionia County

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Parents in Ionia are concerned about safety at the splash pad at Trailhead Park as they seek a safe summer for their kids.

They’re worried about a gap in the fence along M-66, a busy road in Ionia.

The fence is only a few yards from street, where there are several stores and restaurants. The Ionia Free Fair is being held near the park.

There’s concern a child could wander away from the park and onto the street.

“First, there’s the major road,” said Ellen Ogden, who took her kids to the splash pad on Wednesday afternoon. “Then there’s the threat of a kid being able to walk through that (gap). You would think a parent would be paying attention to their kid, but we’re all humans and we make mistakes. So, it’s always a threat.”

Parents would like to see a gate go up to cover the gap and ensure the safety of children playing at the splash pad.

The park is on land owned by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a spokesperson for the city told News 8.

“The city now maintains and operates the park according to an Operating Agreement with the MDNR, which details the approved design elements and required ADA accessibility,” Matt Painter, Ionia’s director of parks and recreation, said in a statement.

He explained that the park was designed for maximum accessibility, and the restroom and picnic tables had been placed to act as a buffer between the entrance and the splash pad.

Ionia is going to reach out to MDNR to see if a gate can be added.

“The city is reaching out to the MDNR to inquire if a gate would be allowed as an added design element at the site, while still satisfying ADA accessibility,” Painter said.

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