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Community Entertainment – ​​Austin Daily Herald – SouthDakota News




NEW PARKS AND RECO throwing director myself in austin

In July of this year, new Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, Dave Merrill, walked through the ramps and barriers at Austin’s Skate Park, where skaters demonstrated the issues and safety issues that had to be resolved.

This was followed by a meeting where skaters and families expressed hope for overall improvement, with Merrill seeking cooperation to accomplish these things. It was an open window on how Merrill plans to approach his new position.

“Everyone loves something we do,” Merrill said, speaking of the need to listen to everyone’s concerns. Whether they participate or not. Everyone is affected in some way, so it’s important to get out there and find out who these people are and what kind of voice they have. I have a long list of small town communities that I try to connect with.

Merrill took office on May 23, replacing Kevin Nelson, who left for Mitchell, South Dakota. He has a long history in the entertainment field, including in a higher education format, where he last served as Director of Campus Recreation at Northeastern Illinois University.

Before that, he worked as an assistant director of entertainment in Iowa.

Merrill said, “I’ve worked in many different areas of entertainment, but most of the work I’ve done over the past 30 years has been entertainment-related in one way or another,” said Merrill. said Merrill.

Merrill said that desire was always due to a love of entertainment, realizing it would become an important part of his life.

When I went to college, I entered as a pre-medical major. I realized that at some point I didn’t want to be my own doctor, so why should I force others to be them, Merrill joked.

This led to a conversation with the manager of the intramural program at the school he attended, which steered him in a new direction.

“It was kind of a story from there,” Merrill said.

The big draw over the years has been working with the people who are part of the entertainment, be they employees, executives or attendees. But as he continued his career, Merrill was exposed to other areas, including Austin.

“This job put me into the world of forestry and park management and into things I had never been involved in before,” Merrill said. It allows me to have the same kind of conversations with people. I’m just reading a different script.

However, there was some providence with this new work.

Merrill was in the midst of a nationwide search for jobs outside of higher education, but most positions would have required her to serve another community or relocate altogether.

At the same time, Austin’s situation resurfaced and while he still needed a move, this time there was a reason for it.

“This one popped up and because I have family in Austin, it was like ‘Wow,'” Merrill said. “It’s kind of a coincidence. Sounds like the thing to me.

Merrill said her new job puts her in the middle of a prime position in Austin, which focuses on parks and recreation.

“We have a tremendous amount of parks resources,” Merrill said. “To the point where I think we have way more than the resources to handle it.”

It’s encouraging for Merrill to know that the community has the resources for precise quality and positive change, as well as fostering the established central core that has made parks and recreation so abundant in Austin.

“The people are great. The people that work in my department…I have great people doing a lot of things,” Merrill said. “It’s about going beyond expectations. Everyone does more than they are told to do, which is fantastic. The potential here is great in terms of things we can improve. We are in Austin You can add a lot of interesting things to the city that will improve the tourism or the general aesthetics of the community.

However, the job is not without its challenges. One of the most significant is the emergence of the emerald ash borer, which was first detected several years ago in Mower County but has only now been detected in Austin.

The reality is that Austin is facing the loss of a large number of ash trees, which represent a significant number of the total number of trees planted in Austin.

The EAB is unhappy. But it happens. It happens everywhere, Merrill said. It is a reality, a process. Fortunately, we have the support of the Ministry of Agriculture.

People here care about their trees, the trees in the parks. They are important. The only thing we can do is make a lot of sense by removing these trees, and also how are we going to replace them? ” He added.

Merrill said he envisions his future with Parks and RE and looks forward to even more community involvement.

“I don’t mean to seek sympathy, but I want the community to really understand how many areas of the community this department touches and how it works with the limited number of people and resources we have,” Merrill said. We almost never respond to requests from the community for partner requests and I want to continue to be able to do that, but we need to move forward with Parks and Rec in this community.




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