By CHRISTINA RITCHIE ROGERS
Former Cornelius PARC Director Paul Herbert is confident the department is in good hands as he leaves his post, he said Tuesday. Mr. Herbert stepped down last week to pursue other opportunities, and the town appointed Superintendent Troy Fitzsimmons as interim director.
“I am confident that we have developed a great team to ensure excellence in parks and recreation services for the citizens of Cornelius,” Mr. Herbert said. “I am comforted to know those people are in place.”
He also is confident that PARC – which stands for Parks, Arts, Recreation & Culture – is in good standing operationally, as it is aligned with many of the goals and recommendations being put forward by Navigate Cornelius, a comprehensive master plan for the town focused on economic development, mobility and wellness.
TIME FOR SOMETHING NEW
“I really like starting new things,” Mr. Herbert said, “and the timing is right for me to do that.”
Mr. Herbert is earning a second graduate degree in parks, recreation and tourism management at North Carolina State University, and his studies have opened his eyes to new professional opportunities. And, he said, “there is no time like the present.”
He does not have another position lined up yet, but he wanted to leave PARC now so that he could devote his time to job searching without taking any time away from PARC.
When Mr. Herbert first took on the role of director in 2000, Cornelius had about 11,500 residents. Now, he leaves a town of more than 25,000 with thousands of recreation opportunities for its citizens.
While director, he oversaw the management and allocation of an operating budget of more than $1.37 million and about $206,000 in tourism-generated funding. He initiated capital projects totaling more than $5.7 million, including the Westmoreland Athletic Complex and Robbins Park in recent years.
“I can look back and think, ‘gosh, I had something to do with helping create that,’” he said.
April 26, 2011, “Cornelius PARC director resigns.”