Anarchists put Picnic Tables in Park

from the Lansing State Journal

Anarchist group put picnic tables in Reutter Park and Lansing isn't objecting - for now

LANSING -- An anarchist group called Punks with Lunch that helps the homeless and others less fortunate won't face resistance from city officials for a gesture it made last weekend in a downtown park.

There are no plans to remove four picnic tables group members padlocked to trees in Ruetter Park, Lansing Parks And Recreation Director Brett Kaschinske said.

"They will stay for now," Kaschinske said of the tables, "and we'll see how it works."

Reutter Park is located at the corner of West Kalamazoo Street and South Capitol Avenue, across from the Capital Area District Library.

Kaschinske said the city removed its own picnic tables from the park last year because officials "had concerns about the uses of them" and were aware of a few instances when people using them failed to obey park rules.
A group called Punks with Lunch recently placed four picnic tables in downtown Lansing's Reutter Park. Members locked them to trees. City officials don't have plans to remove them.

He declined to explain what rules were violated in the park and said he's been in touch with Punks with Lunch members about the group's activities.

The city does provide places to sit in the 3-acre Reutter Park. There are six benches bolted to pavement near the park's centerpiece fountain.

Julia Miller, founder of Punks with Lunch Lansing, said group members spent at least $400 for the four picnic tables and placed them in the park Saturday.

"I’m thankful that (Kaschinske) is allowing them to stay," Miller said. "We did have our concerns about how long they would be there for.”

Miller said she started noticing city-owned picnic tables disappearing from the park during the fall of 2017.
Metro Place is a $25 million housing and retail development planned for the former YMCA site near downtown Lansing's Reutter Park.

Metro Place is a $25 million housing and retail development planned for the former YMCA site near downtown Lansing's Reutter Park. (Photo: Courtesy image)

That motivated the group — with a non-violent, non-hierarchical "no masters, no slaves" approach — to not wait for city officials and get their own tables out there.

“We thought if they aren’t doing it, we’re going to do it for them," Miller said.

Punks with Lunch Lansing was founded by Miller in November 2017 and consists of 15 to 30 people, she said.

The group meets every other Saturday in the park to give clothing, food and bus tokens to homeless and low income residents.

Kaschinske's department oversees the use and maintenance of 111 parks within Lansing's 36 square miles. He said it's not uncommon to remove picnic tables and other city-owned property in parks.
Kaschinske said officials are always looking into new ways for visitors to enjoy all city parks and may eventually add new features and attractions to Reutter Park because of renewed interest in that area.

“Basically our mission is to provide things that aren’t otherwise available to Lansing residents," Kaschinske said. "And that goes for anything and everything.”

Construction is underway for a $25 million housing project called Metro Place, near the park's southwest corner.

Metro Place will be located at the site of the former YMCA building at the corner of Townsend and West Lenawee streets.

Plans call for 145 loft-style apartments and almost 7,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

There are 8 Comments


A pity they had to spend $400 from their pockets, and that the tables or materials for them weren’t able to be sourced for free, specially since it was uncertain if they would be removed. Hopefully the fact they’re brand new tables helped them decide to keep them there and not take them away on the excuse that they were old and rickety or shoddily made.

These tables are good for what they’re doing, and a comfy place to take a nap, also a nice place to hang out and have a few drinks late at night. Free public places to gather in or chill are on the extinction route, even minimum ones like this, so this helps.

This table setup might also be a good idea to protect a tree in a park where someone might think it won’t be missed if chopped down.

I dunno how you can get a comfy nap on those conventional picnic tables. Some park benches are comfy for sleeping, but picnic tables? They do make a decent shelter by attaching a tarp all over them... as long as you won't get bothered by security/pigs/fascist creeps/etc.

Potholes next!

A facile retort, yet the actions are wholly different.

One repairs infrastructure that destroys the earth and contributes to pollution by polluting via vehicle use, the commute being an essential part to business as usual.

A bench on the park invites for a relaxing break from the frantic pace of technophilic productivism and consumerism. It also serves as a free (as in no paying) real public meeting spot in a moment where that is discouraged, more people preferring to “meet up” online.

Wholly different perhaps, but given a previous public-service project by some other anarcho-buffoons in Portland, perhaps not too facile

I know right? These libcom morons like totally amalgamated "saving lives" with "saving the well-being of cars".

They could have put cushions or pillows on them, ever tried sleeping on a basic raw bench?

Real anarcho-communist comrades don't sleep on benches, they got apartments, duh! Loitering is for the right-wing junkies over 30 years old... or anyone that has grown beyond our organization.

Add new comment