Don't miss

Your Greece Parks and Recreation Team

By on March 20, 2018
dscn0123

Three years ago the Town of Greece joined their Parks Department and their Recreation Department together, created a new position, Director of Parks and Recreation, and hired Peter O’Brien as the Director of Parks and Recreation. “When Supervisor Bill Reilich came into Greece in 2014 he made it a top priority to improve the quality of life for Greece through Parks and Recreation. I came into the Director position and had a staff all set up. It has been great right from the start,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien’s job is to oversee operations, budgets and planning for the Community and Senior Center and the 300 acres of parks in Greece that includes parklands, shelters, lodges and 45 miles of hiking trails. He is quick to give all the credit for their successes to the Parks and Recreation staff. The 13 full time staff members of the Parks and Recreation Department are a team. “It’s really easy to work when you have people that want to be here and love their job,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien has been working in the field of Parks and Recreation for over 20 years. He said, “It is great to work for the Town of Greece and the community. If you need something you present a request and they will support you. They really get the importance of  what improving the quality of life in the community through Parks and Recreation means.”

In the Town Recreation Department the Rec Team runs 90% of the programs themselves. Supervisors and Rec team members teach the programs at the Community Center. “We believe it is a very efficient use of time for the Rec Team and their time spent working and having conversations with community members is where many of our program ideas and changes to programs comes from. You seldom find Rec Team members in their office. They are interacting with the people in the Center. We rely on the residents and the Community Center users for ideas. Engaging and interacting with each other brings a sense of community and a feeling of home,” O’Brien said.

The Recreation Department staff meets with Supervisor Reilich every two weeks for informational meetings. At these meetings updates are given, ideas are exchanged and there is feedback between Supervisor Reilich and the staff members. “The really great thing is the Supervisor allows us to take chances on programs. He loves new ideas and puts his support behind them,” O’Brien said. One example is the Kids Canyon Playground located at the Community Center. It is one of the largest of its kind in the country. The idea was to use artificial turf instead of wood chips on the playground floor. Turf works much better in this playground because of the closeness to the Splash Park, wet feet cause a problem in wood chips.

The Recreation Department has weekly staff meetings to talk about Program Development and to discuss the progress of current programs. All program schedules are worked out four to six months in advance. New ideas come from a combination of staff members and suggestions from Community Center users, they really rely on their residents for feedback.

The Senior Center operations are also overseen by the Recreation Department. They serve daily lunches and have classes geared toward the Senior Community. “For many of our senior residents this is like home. They come here daily for socialization and wellness. It is so nice to be here for them,” O’Brien said.

There are a couple of programs the Recreation Department would like the residents to know about. The first is “Friends And Fun Social” held on Thursdays from 6-7:30 PM for ages 14 and up. This program is for youth and adults with special needs and is designed to provide an opportunity for participants to be independent and experience recreational and cultural activities while increasing social skills, building self-esteem and having fun. Addison Steven is the Rec Team member who oversees this program.

The second program is “Time Out For Women” held on Wednesdays from 9-11AM. This program is designed for women to spend time in a social setting and to learn about different topics through informational programs. This program averages about 100 women each week who listen to great speakers on a variety of topics, have a snack and socialize with other women. The program is overseen by Rec Team staff member Robin James.

The Parks Department consists of five full time staff members who are all new team members within the last two years. “They are a team that really cares about our parks,” O’Brien said.

To be on the Parks Department staff you need to be a jack of all trades. The Parks staff is responsible for repairs to shelters, lodges, benches and bleachers and all of the 14 playgrounds. This year they have renovated three bathrooms and the entire Adeline Lodge. They do siding work, lawn mowing, upkeep of the athletic fields, and trail clearing. They are responsible for everything that needs to be maintained in the over 300 acres of parks in Greece. On the grounds of the Greece Town Hall Campus they built the pickleball and bocce courts and the outdoor fitness equipment located on the “Wellness Way” path.

“Our community will see their parks really shine this year. We are excited. You can expect the very best out of the parks, playgrounds and a everything that the Town offers through their Parks and Recreation Department. People come to see us because they want to relax and feel better about themselves. They feel healthier and happier and that’s our goal to make people feel happy. It is a ton of work with a ton of responsibility, the result is great rewards for the entire Greece community,” O’Brien said.

For a complete guide to all that the Greece Parks and Recreation Department has to offer go to the Parks and Recreation page at www.greeceny.gov On the sidebar find the Strive Activity Guide.

Photos by Karen Fien

Time Out For Women Group.

Time Out For Women Group.

 

CSC/PE-Community Senior Center Physical Education Home School Group.

CSC/PE-Community Senior Center Physical Education Home School Group.

 

Brycen Paddon playing with a basketball at Open Play.

Brycen Paddon playing with a basketball at Open Play.

 

Moriah Gonzalez enjoying the toys at Open Play.

Moriah Gonzalez enjoying the toys at Open Play.

 

The Recreation Team Department of parks & Recreation Back row: Robyn James, Danielle Gross, Terri Dickerson, Peter O'Brien, Kathy Walker, Christine Saddler, Lisa Letta; Front row: Mike Barnes, Laurie Gately, Katie Decker, missing Gina Edwards, Addison Steven. Parks Team Members not pictured: Marc Piccone, Christian Banegas, Frank Antinetto, Scott Tronolone, Tom Donelly.

The Recreation Team Department of parks & Recreation Back row: Robyn James, Danielle Gross, Terri Dickerson, Peter O’Brien, Kathy Walker, Christine Saddler, Lisa Letta; Front row: Mike Barnes, Laurie Gately, Katie Decker, missing Gina Edwards, Addison Steven. Parks Team Members not pictured: Marc Piccone, Christian Banegas, Frank Antinetto, Scott Tronolone, Tom Donelly.