John Henes Park is wrapping up another great summer. As an annual visitor to the community, I walk the park as many times a week as I can. This park is one of Menominee’s great treasures, but I have some concerns about its overall care.
First, I need to note that the grounds crew does a spectacular job. The general appearance of the lawns, the condition of the pavilions, is a testament to the concern of the crew that keeps the park beautiful.
There are problems, however, that relate to directions given to this crew, and these are the focus of my letter:
• I saw at least one standing grill that was no longer standing upright and was untended.
• Two grills between the first and second pavilions sit without a table for family use.
• There are a never-ending vehicle ruts between these two grills, something that could be prevented with a simple stack of flatrock at the edge of each grill spot.
• The park brochures speak with enthusiasm about seventeen markers that identify types of trees, but these markers are either empty, vandalized, or neglected.
• Both the Whittier trail and the Virgil trail have muddy spots that could be improved with a regular application of shredded mulch or wood chips.
• Something is much amiss with the spray pipe in the fountain behind the second pavilion, just off the Whittier.
These problems are easily addressed if the Henes Park Board budgets for this maintenance in its recommendation to the city council.
As a former reporter for the Herald-Leader I attended every park board meeting and I reported every effort to restore the park to its form when John Henes gave it to the city in 1907. Many in the community may not be aware that the design of the park is related to the school of “prairie architecture” of such men as Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park and part of the Washington, D.C. Mall. John Henes was a visionary himself in hiring O.C. Simonds of this school of landscaping to design John Henes Park.
I encourage the Henes Park Board to walk the trails, fathom the history of the park and this great gem of landscaping, and then move forward to keep it in top form every year.
Silver Spring, Md./Menominee, Mich.