Park district’s new director ready to play ball

Rodika Tollefson, KP News Scott Gallagher had plenty to do after arriving for his first day of work in March as the Key Peninsula Metropolitan Park District’s new full-time director. Volunteer Park needed to be ready for softball season, less than a month away; the office and a computer had to be set up; a Website was urgently needed; and the search for a concessionaire was under way. And that’s just to get started. The park board moved quickly at the end of February to vote on hiring a director, then hire someone right away out of as many as 70 applicants. DeMoss said hiring a director, who will have some maintenance work as his job duties, required adjusting the budget, but the board saw the expense as a necessary first step toward becoming organized and moving ahead with new programs. The job seems right up the alley for Gallagher, who has worked for recreation programs ranging from the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the cities of Marysville and Everett. “I really enjoy a challenge and starting things new, and building it up,” he said. Gallagher, who is moving to the Key Peninsula from Lake Stevens, used to visit the area while growing up in Everett—his grandmother lived in Wauna. The Key Pen’s lifestyle is attractive for him and his family, a wife and two young children, and he sees preserving the quality of life as part of his job. “Parks are more than 20 acres of grass and trees,” he said. “They are gathering places and programs that make the community well-rounded…People say, ‘Why do we need a park administrator?’ The need is to improve the recreational aspect, and that’s a quality of life issue.” Gallagher’s priority is Volunteer Park, but he’s also looking to make partnerships with other entities, build up the softball program, bring in summer programs, and implement new ideas. He says the district will continue to rely heavily on volunteers and community involvement. “I consider myself a conductor almost, making sure everything’s in tune,” he said. One of his “productions” already proved successful. On a rainy Saturday in March, more than 100 people—kids, parents, Little League players— showed up to clean Volunteer Park and get the fields ready for April 2 season opening.
Parks briefs KPMPD is still looking for men’s and women’s teams for its adult softball program. At least four teams are needed per division to create the league. The season begins in mid-April but can be adjusted.The 2005 KPMPD adopted budget includes a projected income of $134,150, and expenses of $85,000 including $18,000 in repairs. KPMPD Director Scott Gallagher would like to solicit residents’ ideas for summer programs or classes, and is also looking for volunteers for office work, field maintenance, services and other help. The commissioners voted to approve a jousting exhibition and school at Volunteer Park in June, contingent on certain conditions. According to the proposal by the Ravenswood School of Jousting, American Jousting Alliance founder James Zoppe will perform with his entourage. The Lions Club, on behalf of the park board, will solicit donations of cash and materials to build a picnic shelter at Home Park. The project, by the KP Lions, will also involve volunteer labor; anyone interested should call George Robison at 853- 2721. To reach the park district or director Scott Gallagher, call 884-9240.