Barnes Park

The Parks Department has been busy developing plans to expand and improve Barnes Park. Anyone who has ever been to the park knows that it is a beautiful lakeshore, with wonderful walking trails. The only blemish on the park is the people that camp there.

All summer, the park is packed with downstaters. They drive 90 miles per hour everywhere. They drink White Claws like they are going out of style. They are loud, they create tons of trash, and they all play the same stupid Kid Rock song over and over. You know the one. It sounds like “Werewolves of London,” but the lyrics are about getting stoned and drunk, and having sex by a lake.

Kid Rock embodies the people that camp at Barnes Park. Here are the actual names of some of his other masterpieces:

Song Titles by RJ Ritchie:

Drinkin Beer with Dad

Wax the Booty

Killing Brain Cells

Pimp of the Nation

Krack Rocks

Born 2 B a Hick

That last one is awesome. The lyrics are about how he hunted squirrels, toted a shotgun, and drove around John Deere tractors. In the song, his mom abandoned him, and trucker dad took him out on the lonely roads.

It is all bullshit.

Kid rock grew up wealthy in Romeo. Dad owned a bunch of car dealerships. He grew up in this house –

Anyway, we hate that song. Playing it loud in your Duramax pick up truck, pulling an RV into Barnes, does not make anyone like that song more.

A crowd of people gathered at the last Board meeting to protest park expansion. They were all residents that live around Barnes Park. The last thing any of them want is MORE Barnes Park. A half hour of opposition to park expansion made up the entirety of public comment. One of the commenters actually called on the Board to fire the Parks Director, who was there in the room!

If it were us, we would have brought in a sound system, and played that stupid song for a half hour on loop. Then, simply plead with the Board members, “Please don’t make us listen to MORE of this.”

The first thing that the Parks Department asked for was money to purchase new playground equipment for the park.

Politician Jarris Rubingh objected for a very good reason – himself.

“When I take my kids to Barnes Park,” he said “it is not for the playground.” He went on to say that he and his kids walk the beach at skip stones. They do not go to the playground. If the Politician’s kids want to play on a nice playground, they go into Ellsworth and play there.

Obviously, if Jarris and his kids don’t use the playground equipment, then nobody should. Duh.

Bargy pointed out that this was already a part of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). She stated that they have been planning on replacing the playground for years, and have budgeted for it.

Lavanway always plays to the crowd that shows up for meetings. She stated that they should not be replacing park equipment due to budget shortfalls in other areas. She said this despite the fact that she is on the same CIP committee that pushed for replacing the equipment. This was a part of her plan.


Dawn Lavanway’s decision making is summed up like this: any way the wind blows.

Before the crowd attempted to tar and feather the hated Parks Director, he explained that there are pieces of equipment that are over 20 years old and some may have safety issues. Safety, he explained, is a no-brainer. People from the crowd actively called out objections to playground expansion, and were generally hostile to slides, swings, and fun of any kind.

The Board approved the playground renovation. Rubingh and Lavanway were the only anti-fun votes. The yet to be fired Parks Director thanked them and boogied out of the room fully intact.

When it came to an overall expansion of the park, the Chairman postponed the agenda item until zoning issues with the township can be taken care of.

The Park is full most of the Summer. There is a market adding campsites, which would generate more revenue for the Parks department. That revenue can be reinvested for even better recreational improvements. Some of the camp sites do not meet state standards. They need to be improved. The Board previously approved this. So, now that a crowd shows up, it is all of a sudden a problem?

Barnes Park is great. Its occupants are not great. However, the down-state visitors bring more than their RVs, endless White Claws, and bad music. They bring money. That money is good for area businesses that depend on tourism.

Just think: the Eastport Market could sell even more White Claws!

The Politician was right about one thing. Barnes Park is a great place to walk the beach and skip stones. This time of year is not too bad for tourists. So, check it out. On your way out, let the kids go down the slide a few times, or swing through an underdog. The playground is not great, but it works for the kiddos.

Let’s maintain the park. Let’s spend the money. And, let’s get used to the terrible compositions of one R.J. Ritchie.

1 Comment

  1. J says:

    If you believe the Barnes park playground is terrible, you obviously haven’t been to Richardi park in a while.
    Rather than help the Richardi Park get funding for upgrades, the Commissioners would like to trade the easement blocking the grants for the Antrim Co food panty building.


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