Lakeshore Park renamed in honor of late outdoors personality, former WLBT contributor Bobby Cleveland

Longtime sportswriter/outdoorsman Bobby Cleveland passed away
Longtime sportswriter/outdoorsman Bobby Cleveland passed away(WLBT TV)
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 2:09 PM CDT
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RANKIN CO., Miss. (WLBT) - A park on the Barnett Reservoir has been renamed in honor of the late outdoors personality and former WLBT contributor Bobby Cleveland.

Thursday, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to rename the park “Bobby Cleveland Park at Lakeshore.”

The honor comes months after Cleveland died in a car crash in April.

The request to rename the park was made by the Reservoir Foundation. At Thursday’s meeting, a representative from the foundation, as well as Bobby’s brother Rick and wife Pam spoke.

Several members of the foundation also were present at Thursday’s meeting, according to a video posted on the PRV’s social media page.

“For the 25 years or so we were at the Clarion-Ledger, I think Bobby was the spokesperson for fishermen and hunters all over Mississippi,” he said. “That was a very important part of our culture, hunting, and fishing, and he loved it and he did it, and he did a lot of it out here.”

“He took great pride after he came to work for the board [in] promoting all things reservoir,” he said. “I think he made it a better place, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you recognizing that with the renaming of a park that he loved so much.”

Mark Beyea, the district engineer, said Bobby Cleveland had been working for the PRV for several years and was preparing for a concert at Lakeshore Park when he was in the fatal crash.

“He was always involved in fishing, boating, and anything to do with outdoor activities, not only here but throughout the state,” Beyea said. “He was a well respected and well-loved member of the reservoir family.”

In April, a petition was started at Change.org to rename the reservoir after Cleveland. The reservoir is currently named after Ross Barnett, an “avowed segregationist” who was governor of the state of Mississippi from 1960 to 1964.

So far, the online petition has 1,224 signatures.

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