Three finalists for the city of Delaware’s new parks and natural resources director position met the public at a reception Monday at City Hall.
A new director could be named by the end of the week, or the field be narrowed to two candidates, city staff said. The city has said it would like the new director to start in May.
The finalists are:
• Douglas A. Burger, of Guilford, Indiana. Burger’s most recent position was as parks service director for Great Parks of Hamilton County in Cincinnati. He has a degree in turf-grass management and landscape design from Eastern Kentucky University.
“I worked for a large agency, and we were very successful, made over a million dollars on our golf courses for several years,” Burger said during the reception. “I’ve got a lot of experience, passion and enthusiasm for parks. This is a great opportunity for me to be able to use my people skills, and bring more notoriety and players to Hidden Valley Golf Course, which will equate to additional revenue. You have beautiful community parks, and you have an opportunity to enhance and grow those, also.”
• Ted Clifford Miller, of Waldo. Miller is chief landscape architect for Preservation Parks of Delaware County. He has a degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State University.
“One of the things that interested me is the opportunities that are available here in Delaware with a lot of the natural features, like the river, and the tributaries, but it’s also a growing community,” Miller said. He is interested in “working with neighboring townships to make sure we have a cohesive unit; and also working with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, which is really focusing on Franklin and Delaware counties to make sure there’s a trail network in place that includes some of those fast-growing areas. There’s just so many opportunities in Delaware, it’s exciting.”
• Gregory Todd Younkin, of Upper Arlington. Younkin is resource planning manager at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Watercraft. He has a degree in natural resources parks and recreation administration.
“What interested me most was the attention that they’re giving to natural resources. I appreciate the city manager wanting more attention on conservation,” Younkin said. “I’d focus on bringing more attention to the Olentangy River, access for canoeing and kayaking.”
A total of 56 people applied for the job, a full-time position that was approved by City Council and budgeted for 2016. For the last couple of years, the city has has had a parks supervisor, while the YMCA has taken over the recreation side. City staff have said they want a director to manage not only the parks, but the city’s natural resources, as well.
Delaware has 370 acres of parkland at 24 parks and playground facilities; 20 miles of bike trails; more than 15,000 trees; a 72-acre cemetery; and a 50-acre, 9-hole golf course.
“The ideal candidate has an exceptional background and a willingness to address issues related to green space management, sustainability and recreation programming, while collaborating with city leadership, staff and community partners,” stated the city’s job posting.
City staff said a similar reception for job candidates took place in 2008, when Darren Hurley was named director of parks and recreation. Delaware had a parks and recreation director until 2012, when it started contracting with the Central Ohio YMCA for recreation services.