McMinnville officials are kicking around an idea to honor Jimmy Ray Barnes.
Called “Big Jim” by the people who knew him best, Barnes was a local nurseryman and owner of Heritage Farms. He contracted COVID-19 in 2020 and passed away in November. His wife, Paula, operates Paula’s Dance Academy. The couple has three children, including his namesake Jimmy Barnes Jr.
During a city Parks and Recreation Committee meeting, Mayor Ryle Chastain proposed naming a soccer field at Pistole Park soccer complex in memory of Barnes.
“I had the privilege of playing with his son, Jimmy, on Warren County High School’s 2001 Final Four State Soccer Team,” said Chastain. “I grew up playing soccer with Jimmy. Soccer is what it is today in no small part thanks to Jimmy (Sr). He may not have some of the name recognition like Ben Banerjee, but he was certainly instrumental in projects like Pistole Park, youth and travel soccer, AYSO and again, the state run that we had in the early 2000s.”
Chastain said he was approached by family members and friends of the family who voiced a desire for some type of memorial, such as planting a tree or placing a plaque.
“We do have one of the fields,” said Chastain. “The ideas of a tree or a plaque were brought up, but given his association to soccer in McMinnville and Warren County, I thought it would be fitting to name one of the fields after him in his honor.”
Committee members Aldermen Rachel Kirby, Zach Sutton and Steve Harvey unanimously approved.
“I think this would be a wonderful way to commemorate his work in the community and everything he did for the sport of soccer and the kids,” said Kirby.
Final consideration must come from the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
If accepted by the board, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be arranged.