Batavia Park District names executive director
By Linda Girardi For The Beacon-News August 31, 2012 4:44PM
Allison Niemela, public relations director for the Batavia Park District, has been named the district's new executive director.
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:17AM
BATAVIA — Batavia Park District commissioners looked within for the district’s new leader.
The Park Board announced Friday that Allison Niemela, the district’s director of marketing and public relations for the past 12 years, will succeed Mike Clark as executive director. Clark recently resigned after 11 years with Batavia to accept a similar position at the Palatine Park District.
Park Board President Pat Callahan said input from residents during “community engagement” efforts in the summer of 2011 and the near completion of a 10-year strategic master plan were considered in the selection of a new executive director.
“It is the outcome of both of those studies that have provided us with direction the Park Board and executive director can work with in order to achieve some of the suggestions our residents have asked of us,” Callahan said.
Callahan said residents gave feedback on some programming expansion, improvements to heavily used parks and the continuation of stewardship of open space.
“Allison has strong familiarity not only with the community, but also the park district,” Callahan said. “Another compelling reason was to consider the people who work for the Batavia Park District and for them to know there is room for advancement.”
Niemela has served as interim executive director, working with department heads and managing the day-to-day operations.
Callahan said the district’s strategic master plan will be formally adopted on Sept. 18.
“The community did indicate additional indoor recreational space would be beneficial, however there are no formal or informal plans,” he said.
In 2010, residents of the district defeated plans to build an indoor recreational center as part of a public-private partnership.
Callahan said Niemela had a role in the Park District receiving state and national recognition, including the back-to-back years it was selected as a national gold medal finalist, the highest honor a park district can receive.
Niemela has assisted in the development of intergovernmental agreements and collaborated on the strategic master plan, as well as spearheaded the “community engagement” efforts through a survey and series of neighborhood meetings to determine the future of the Hall Quarry Beach.
The Park Board will formally ratify her contract on Sept. 18.