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January 27, 2011

City Will Launch New Parks Director Job in March

With the temperature below zero and lots of snow on the ground, it might be a little difficult to be thinking about fun in the city parks. But with spring just around the corner, the City of Memphis officially launched the inaugural season for the new post of parks and recreation director.

The board of aldermen finalized a preliminary job description for the newly formed post and will seek applications for the city's first parks director to take office in March.

Council members met January 20th in a work session to finalize a job description for the part-time position that is expected to generate additional recreational opportunities throughout the city's park system while providing improved upkeep and maintenance for the facilities.

"What we need people to realize is that this is a work in progress, and this first year will teach us a lot about what to expect from an administrator," said Alderman Chris Feeney. "We all have a lot of ideas and have high hopes for this project moving forward."

The council members agreed that the first year will be a learning process for all involved, beginning with the interview process.

While a basic job description has been generated, the board of aldermen hopes to hear ideas from the prospective candidates for the post of what they can bring to the position.

Key components of the position will include maintenance and upkeep of Johnson and Legion parks, including supervision of part-time employees hired for mowing services.

In addition to keeping the facilities up to speed for use, the new parks director will also be expected to schedule and organize activities that will help fill the park with users. Ideas include softball, baseball, soccer and volleyball leagues for groups of all ages.

Part of the job will also include identifying revenue sources to help fund park expansion and additional offerings. The parks administrator will be responsible for pursuing grants and other funding opportunities they can identify.

The new administrator will also oversee the Memphis City Swimming Pool. While the post will not be asked to serve as the pool manager, it will in essence replace the administrative part of that post, with the day-to-day activities being turned over to dual head lifeguard positions.

The parks director will be responsible for the financial activities of the pool as well as administration and supervision of the workforce.

The workshop established the initial plan for the post to be a seasonal, part-time position, likely running from March through October. However, all parties agreed it could ultimately grow to a full-time post that could expand to administer Lake Show-Me and could work in conjunction with Little League, the schools and the Fitness Center to schedule events year-round.

Applications and copies of the job description are now available at city hall. Interviews will begin in February with plans to have a new hire in place to start on March 1st.

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