Monday, March 24, 2014

A Park Director

Many times I have been asked, "So, what do you do in the winter?" Apparently people must imagine what I do in the spring and summer. The parks are always buzzing with activities and I'm more visible during these months.

To answer, "What do I do?" I'm not real sure where to begin.  I could start by telling you what the job description is of the Park Director but that would not give you the entire scope of the position. It's evident that I am in charge of the operations of the Parks and Recreation Department just by the title, but let's look a little more specific.

Let me give you a brief history first.  When I first came on as an employee for the city Parks Department, I was the Recreation Supervisor, a position that was only part time. The Department had a full time Park Director and one full time maintenance employee. Within a few years the Department grew into four full time employees; Director, Recreation Supervisor and two maintenance personnel. After ten years as the Recreation Supervisor I was promoted to the Director's position, however the position I held was not filled. Of course someone had to fulfill those responsibilities.....yes it turned out I still had to fill those shoes. Just five years ago one maintenance employee retired and was not replaced. To summarize, the department suffers through budget cuts and down sizing to the bare bones. For nearly six months I was the only employee in the department until the lone maintenance employee was reinstated!

With that said, maybe you have an idea what a Park Director does, or at least this one. Here are a few things you would find me doing; Preparation of the annual budget, coordinating over fifty team schedules on park ball facilities, answering the office phone, taking reservations for fields as wells as pavilions.....Oh! did I forget to mention we don't have an office clerical employee?  So, if you happen to call the office and my voice mail greets you, just leave a message and I will get back to you soon!

With  minimal staff to be care takers of nearly 70 acres of park land with pavilions, restrooms, and athletic facilities with various surfaces you probably wonder how can we keep up. Some days we don't, so on an occasion during the spring and fall you might even see me out on a mower when we are trying to keep up with the fast growing grass. During the peak times of the year we do hire seasonal employees. With the hiring of extra staff on a yearly basis that means; applicants have to be recruited, interviews have to be conducted, then all employees have to be trained.

With the involvement of the day to day operations, there is the interaction with the public, special groups, and volunteers that require organizing and coordinating. Working with such groups as Garden Clubs help beautify and maintain many of our gardens such as Fountain Park, Memorial Park and the Children's Garden at Smiley Park to name a few. Then there are groups like Boy Scouts and Senior Classes that have specific projects that they volunteer to do so they too can help improve and give back to the parks and community. Working with special people and groups as these make this position all the worthwhile....the life of this Park Director is rewarding.

Until next time. Have a great day!!!


  1. I'll bet you sleep REALLY well at night, don't you, Sue? GEESH!! You do what you do VERY well. I hope the city of Van Wert appreciates you! (And your fellow employees!)

  2. Kylee...Thanks! Actually some nights I don't sleep as well, thinking of what I didn't get done or what needs to be done! That time of the year is here!!! The FUN Begins!!