STEUBENVILLE - Recreation Director Troy Kirkendall submitted his resignation this week citing the need for a recreation center instead of a recreation director.
"Recreation is in a state of uncertainty these days with the pool closed in the summer and the future of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. I am one person with a salary and perhaps my salary can be used to keep a staff here and keep the center open after March 1," explained Kirkendall.
Budget cuts this month in the city forced Kirkendall to lay off four part-time recreation aides.
LEAVING POSITION — Steubenville Recreation Director Troy Kirkendall stands behind the reception counter at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. Kirkendall submitted his resignation effective Dec. 28.
-- Dave Gossett
Three recreation maintenance workers are now being shifted to the MLK Center for the winter months, but they are expected to return to grass cutting and outdoors maintenance on March 1.
"I don't think the city needs a recreation director to supervise three people. Tim Young is a supervisor who can direct the other two recreation maintenance workers. And I hope my resignation will benefit the kids who come to the MLK Center," said Kirkendall.
"I would have been here for two years in February. I was an outsider when I arrived here, but I was welcomed with open arms. I have enjoyed more backing and support from the recreation board, the City Council and the administration than I have ever seen in my career," he added.
"Troy will be greatly missed as he brought a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to the parks and recreation department. He expanded our youth programming and diligently worked to bring senior programming to the MLK Center and pool through a partnership with Prime Time. I wish Troy well in his future endeavors," City Manager Cathy Davison said.
Kirkendall said he had no job plans at this point.
"I will go where the Lord leads me. I am putting my future plans in his hands," he said.
Kirkendall had hinted at his possible exit from the recreation director's job at a special parks and recreation board meeting earlier this month.
"I am still considering my options at this point. But I wanted the board to hear about this from me. I don't want to see the recreation program fall apart. I am not just parting ways. I don't have anything else lined up yet.
"And I am willing to help you out as long as I can. I will be there for you as long as I can. I really don't know where I am going or what I am going to do," Kirkendall told the board members at the Dec. 12 meeting.
"I have worked in several places, and Steubenville feels the most like home," Kirkendall commented.
Second Ward Councilman Rick Perkins, who also serves as the Recreation Committee chairman, said Kirkendall will be missed by the community.
"During his time here Troy has impressed me with his dedication and commitment to recreation in our community. It was not unusual to see Troy working on the weekend running a weed trimmer, dragging the fields and doing whatever it took to make sure everything was in order," said Perkins.
"Our loss will be another community's gain. I told Troy I will not hesitate to support him as he looks for another job," Perkins added.
"If there was one thing I have done right while I have been on this board, it was the hiring of Troy as recreation director. He has been great," observed board member Jason Jenkins.
Board member Vicki Nurczyk agreed and called Kirkendall "a true professional."
Kirkendall will officially leave his job on Dec. 28.
"I would suggest the person who oversees the recreation department in the future must be flexible. You have to think outside of the box. And the person can put in more hours than what is expected. This is not a 9-to-5 job. There are a lot of hours after 5 p.m. and weekends. That is when people recreate," cited Kirkendall.
"I really enjoyed myself here, and I hope I made a difference in some lives here. I hope I made a positive impression on someone's life," Kirkendall stated.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)