South Haven “Friends Good Will” Splash Pad

South Haven, MI
Coastal & Waterfront, Hospitality & Recreation
City of South Haven
Project Details

The splash pad near the mouth of the Black River and adjacent South Beach was modeled after the Friends Good Will ship housed in the nearby Michigan Maritime Museum. The design was chosen after an extensive public participation process that involved several public meetings with the parks Commission and a visit to both Lincoln Elementary School and Maple Grove Elementary School to conduct design charrettes soliciting input from kids in the community.

The city of South Haven incorporated multiple sustainable design features into this project such as native plantings, a water management system, and construction materials selected to ensure a long life cycle while minimizing potential environmental impacts.

The project was built between a road and boardwalk with a grade change of approximately 4’ over a relatively short distance. Despite this challenge, the project team was able to design and create a universally accessible amenity for persons of all abilities to enjoy. A seat wall on the street side of the splash pad absorbs the grade differential while providing additional seating options. The project provides a safe recreational alternative to families on days when Lake Michigan has particularly dangerous conditions.


  • Modeled after the iconic Friends Good Will tall ship
  • Comprehensive Public Input Process
  • Secured $300,000 in grant financing for the client
  • Sustainable Design Approach


  • – South Haven – n.d.
  • – South West Michigan – n.d.
  • – Facebook – May 6, 2021
  • – Kzoo Kids – May 2, 2023

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