During my tenure as mayor of Sturgis, former supervisor David Oswalt and myself procured grants and used county and city assets and Ralph Jackson’s land donations to build a public park. This park has been open for ballgames, walking track, childrens playground, family reunions, political meetings, motorcycle rally. etc, and the soon to be go-cart races. These are reasons the park was built. My disappointment is that the Sturgis board of Alderman voted to lock the park on Saturday Oct. 8th to keep the CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association) from using the park for a Memorial Program to Jody James who started the Sturgis South Rally and passed away on June 26, 2011. Their excuse was no security and that there was construction going on in the park. We didn’t need security for a Christian Gathering led by a pastor of the CMA. Also the so called construction was on the other side of the park over 200 yds from the pavilion. In my opinion, this comes from a petty disagreement of the Motorcycle Rally Board and the Sturgis Board. This seems to be discrimination on one group of people. This is not right. The park should be open to all people on a first come basis. In the grant papers I signed to get the money for the park there was a covenant signed to keep the park open to the public. The locking of the park to keep out the CMA for the memorial was a slap in the face to me and all the riders who came to the memorial.
We used the Baptist church’s grounds to praise the Lord in prayers, song and memorial memories of my sister Jody James. It was a very moving service; security was not needed. In the future I hope the aldermen will abide by the covenants in place and keep the park open to all, even the Christian Motorcycle Association.
These are my thoughts. I am not speaking for anyone except myself.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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