Archive for Thursday, January 11, 2001

New parks and recreation director blazing new trails

January 11, 2001

For the first time ever, DeSoto has its very own parks and recreation director.

Jay Garvin of Lawrence was recently hired to the position and officially started work Monday.

Garvin was still getting settled in Monday afternoon and had yet to meet with park board members, but he already had a pretty good idea of what his mission in DeSoto would be.

"We have a meeting tonight, so I will know more after that. But it sounds like they want to forge ahead and get a lot of things done," he said.

Specifically, Garvin said he and the board plan to work on improving the city's summer sports leagues. He would like to see the various summer programs work together to make each stronger, he said.

"We have soccer, baseball and softball leagues, but the way I understand it, they operate separately," he said. "The park board would like to combine those, making them bigger and stronger, with more people backing them."

With a strong background in sports, Garvin said he expects the recreation leagues to be the most enjoyable part of his job. He played baseball at Baker University in Baldwin, where he graduated with a degree in physical education and business.

After graduation, he helped coach the University's baseball team and got a master's degree in management.

As much as he enjoys athletics, Garvin said, he knows there will be more to the job than just hanging out at the ballpark.

"Organizing the sports programs will definitely be my favorite part of the job, but it's going to involve other things as well," he said. "But I've done some athletic field maintenance in my time, so that part won't be totally new to me either."

Although he wants to be ambitious in his new position, Garvin said, he's not planning to come in and make a lot of quick changes.

"I plan to work very closely with the park board and try my best to do exactly what the people of DeSoto want me to do," he said. "I have no intention of trying to expand the sports programs to Overland Park or anything. I think we can make some steady progress and give residents what they want."

The DeSoto City Council approved the new position during last year's budget hearings. They hoped at the time that the parks and recreation director would eventually organize enough recreational programs to fund the new position.

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