May 9, 2013 10:35:45 AM
Carmen K. Sisson - [email protected]
The Town of Caledonia has hired its first park director.
After months of discussion, the board selected Rural Hill resident Allan Glenn from a pool of six applicants for the $25,000 per year position, which offers state benefits and health insurance. His first day on the job was May 1.
Glenn, who retired from Omnova Solutions in November, had spent 43 years with the company, ending his career as a department manager overseeing final inspections and special packaging.
Previously, he coached girls' softball, Little League baseball and women's softball at Propst Park. His grandchildren play sports at Caledonia High School and participate in Little League at Caledonia's Ola J. Pickett Park.
He said he applied for the park director job as a way to become involved again in youth sports and use his interest in landscaping and beautification to make the town's 11-acre park better.
"They have one of the nicest parks in the state," Glenn said Wednesday afternoon, crediting volunteers for maintaining it so well over the years.
Back in 1997, the park was overgrown and seldom used, but alderman Mike Savage, along with a small army of concerned citizens, decided to change that.
They now have five lighted, fenced fields used for baseball, softball and soccer, as well as two sand volleyball courts, playgrounds, a skate park and a paved walking track that is especially popular in the early mornings and late evenings.
Approximately 400 players participate in baseball and softball from mid-April until mid-August, and more than 300 children play soccer in the park from September through the end of March, Savage said.
More than 20 acres adjacent to the park may be developed for soccer fields and a football field where youth can play flag football and peewee football, Glenn said.
Among his first priorities are making sure the fields are up to standards and the facilities are safe, clean and fan-friendly. He hopes to eventually attract five to six tournaments a year.
Savage said he has enjoyed overseeing the park as a volunteer, but due to his work schedule as a Nabisco salesman, it's no longer feasible.
"The park has grown to the point that I just can't do it," Savage said Wednesday. "I don't have the time to put into it. It's not that I don't want to, I just don't have the time to do it."
In a December 2012 interview with The Dispatch, Savage estimated that he spends anywhere from 20 to 40 hours per week caring for the park, which receives $15,000 annually from the town and brings in an average of $80,000 per year.
Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.