Email A Friend

Snyder has no plans to put it in ‘park’

By CHRIS HUNTER Salina Journal

After 22 years at the helm of the Salina Parks and Recreation Department, Steve Snyder will retire in September.

Snyder, 59, started with the recreation commission 36 years ago, before it was a city department. He began working for the city when the parks department and recreation commission merged. He said he had debated about when to retire.

“My wife (Mary) and I have been talking about it for a year and a half,” Snyder said. “We had this in mind for this period in time. I felt June was too soon after Kenwood Cove opened, so we decided to wait until September to see how the first season went.”

Snyder, who was born in Salina but attended school in Russell, was awarded the 2010 Distinguished Fellow Award from the Kansas Recreation and Parks Association in January, the highest award for nonretired personnel working in parks departments.

Department changes

Salina’s parks department has grown from four staff members to 15 during Snyder’s tenure. When the parks department merged with the recreation commission in 1980, it also merged with the cemetery, forestry, neighborhood centers and golf course. Snyder said the merger has helped him learn from the experts in those areas and taught him to rely on their help.

Aside from staff changes, Snyder has been part of public and private partnerships for such projects as the construction of the Eric Stein Stage in Oakdale Park. He also guided the city through the building of Kenwood Cove, the city’s $11.4 million water park.

Snyder said the support from citizens and city commissioners has helped Salina develop and maintain top-notch facilities.

Retirement plans

While Snyder plans to retire from the city department, he won’t stop working. In fact, he might have more on his hands than he expects.

“I have a lot of plans, and a few of them involve things around the house and yard,” Snyder said. “There has been a lot of time spent with the aquatic park and there are some things I have been putting off until I have this free time.”

Snyder said his retirement plans also include traveling and spending more time at a house he and his wife own in Mexico.

“We want to spend a little more time there than just a week or two here and there,” Snyder said. “We don’t plan on moving there, but it is on my list of things to do.”

Snyder said he will miss working on parks projects.

“Since I have been planning this and I made the announcement, I have been saying in planning meetings that next year we are going to do this,” Snyder said. “Then I realize I won’t be here to be a part of it. I want to make sure the things I leave here and the notes are set in place so someone else can take over.”

Snyder said that, for the most part, he’s enjoyed his job.

“I have loved the work, and it has a variety of seasons and activities,” Snyder said. “It has not been routine, but challenging and fun. I have met a lot of people, and our duties are to provide activities and facilities for others to enjoy.”

nReporter Chris Hunter can be reached at 822-1422 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Email this story to a friend:



Sender’s email (required):

Enter text seen above: