Your Opinion: City parks director praised

Dear Editor:

Thirty years ago this month, the then Park Board hired William Lockwood as the director of Parks and Recreation for Jefferson City. That has turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to our community.

Under Bill Lockwood, the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department has grown, updated, modernized, renovated, constructed, and efficiently managed what has become a very good and always improving park system.

I was fortunate to work with Bill for 14 years and daily observed his passion, professionalism and foresight. Because of Bill Lockwood’s leadership and management skills we now have:

• A wonderful 10-month-per-year ice arena providing recreation opportunities rarely found in a city our size. When Bill came it was an outdoor slab of ice totally dependent upon weather conditions and often closed during its three-month season due to warm weather.

• The Memorial Park Family Aquatics Center, a great facility that used to be a rectangular tub of water with structural and mechanical problems that few people used.

• The Oak Hills Golf Center, a totally renovated Hough Park Golf Course, the object of countless jokes, into a really nice and very challenging public golf course.

• The Jefferson City Greenway, miles and miles of hiking/biking trails throughout the community.

• Renovated baseball and softball facilities at Vivion Field, Duensing Field, the Optimist Sports Complex, and Binder Softball Complex, all of which are dramatically better than they were when Bill arrived.

• McKay Park and other updated parks with fitness trails, renovated pavilions, new playgrounds, and family picnic areas throughout the community.

• Many other smaller projects, some done in partnerships with other groups to save city money, like the Binder Park campground facility, Miller Park flying field, Washington Park horseshoe facility, North Jefferson City boat ramp providing access to the Missouri River, handicapped fishing pier at Binder Lake, North Jefferson City pavilion and athletic practice fields, management and care of city trees.

• Improved roadway and parking areas in virtually all parks.

On the recreation side, the department has gone from a primarily sports oriented operation to comprehensive recreation programs and special events for Jefferson Citians of all ages and ability levels.

Congratulations to Bill Lockwood and the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry for 30 years of excellent service enhancing our community!

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