Hancock council tables proposal to rename beach

Votes to set up rules before honoring late city manager

HANCOCK — The Hancock City Council tabled a proposal to name the Hancock beach in honor of late Mayor and city manager Barry Givens while the city sets up rules for naming landmarks after people. 

Givens served on Hancock’s city council, including four years as mayor. He became Hancock’s city manager in 2019, serving until his death from cancer the following year.

Hancock’s Recreation Commission proposed the idea of naming the city beach for him. His wife, Laura Givens, spoke in favor of the idea at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. 

Barry had “bled red and yellow,” she said, whether staying up until 2 a.m. working on economic development for the city or going over to a constituent’s hotuse to fix a broken water pipe.

“The state of Michigan has honored Barry as a hometown hero for all his civic duties to our community,” she said. “He gave Hancock everything he could for as long as he could, never wavering on his commitments to the place and people that he loved. I believe it would be a great way for the city to honor Barry’s love for the community by naming the beach after him.”

Councilor Lisa McKenzie, who served on the council with Givens, agreed he should be honored. She remembered his efforts on a grant application to add a splash park and ice rink in the downtown. 

“I really think it’s truly fitting, that that would be a wonderful thing to do for Barry … I would really like to see something forward-moving to honor his devotion to the city’s downtown and its development,” she said. 

Hancock has no procedures in place for naming city property, City Manager Mary Babcock said.

Mayor Paul LaBine said the city should have something in place first, including vetting and public input. There had been no letters of support in the packet provided to the council, or evidence provided for Givens’ connection to the beach. 

 “I would like to see something a little more rigorous if we’re going to be naming assets of the city after individuals,” he said. “Also, I see no discussion as to are there other better candidates maybe for the beach — and as Lisa brought up, maybe there’s a better place for Mr. Givens.”

The council voted 6-0 to table the proposal, with Councilor Ron Blau absent.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today