Next Step Crucial For Recreation Department

For the first time since it began more than 26 years ago, the Osawatomie Recreation Commission will be looking for a new director.

Ron Maring resigned Wednesday night effective Oct. 31. He will stay on to help with the fall programs and the transition to a new director.

While Maring’s time in Osawatomie was tainted at the end by charges of misuse of public funds, his work helped build the recreation department in Osawatomie into one of the state’s best.

I started covering Osawatomie sports for KOFO radio in 1999 and met Maring as he coached of the American Legion baseball team. I remember coming to Osawatomie to broadcast an American Legion game against Ottawa and it was one of the most entertaining games I had ever watched.

In 2002, I started working the Osawatomie Graphic as sports editor and it was then that I really started understanding the impact the recreation program had on Osawatomie and the work Maring did. The recreation program was one of the reasons we decided to move from Paola to Osawatomie.

And now the future of the recreation commission is up for debate. Some have suggested that the city should take back control of the recreation program and its budget.

The recreation commission wants to keep control of the programs and budget just as before.

Mayor Phil Dudley wants a special meeting to be called in September to sit down with the recreation commission and talk about options. This would be a good first step for both groups to understand the concerns that both bring to the table.

Over the past 26 years, Maring’s duties changed as the needs of the city changed. Both the recreation commission and the city paid him. New city manager Don Cawby has concerns about the relationship between the city and the recreation department. There need to be some changes in the structure of the arrangement but keeping control with a commission that focuses just on recreation programs is a must to continue that tradition we have here.

A new recreation director has to be found and it needs to be someone with vision and the same enthusiasm Maring had for the job.

The recreation commission is asking for those who support the recreation programs and keeping the recreation commission as it has been to attend the council meeting Thursday night. It would be good for the council to see the public’s support of the programs.

But whatever the outcome, both groups need to make sure the programs remain for the kids of Osawatomie.

— Jeff Gulley


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Posted by admin on Aug 25 2011. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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