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E'town faces key decision in picking park director

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Editorial: March 15, 2011

The issue: Elizabethtown Sports Park operations director
Our view: Much hinges on this hiring decision

The countdown continues to tick away the days before the gates open at Elizabethtown Sports Park. As site preparation at the St. John Road location progresses, the park’s projected completion deadline of the summer of 2012 might seem far off.

In reality, that doesn’t leave an abundance of time for all that needs to be done before the first pitch crosses home plate in its opening game.

With this in mind, it was good to learn that the city is actively seeking qualified candidates for the position of sports park director recently.

In a nutshell, the essential function will be to oversee the day-to-day operation of the complex. According to the job description, the director will manage operations that include park concessions, direct supervision of park personnel, administer rental contracts for park use and coordinate the events and activities that take place on the grounds with the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau.

The position also will be responsible for development and implementation of the park’s annual operational and capital budget, something that so far hasn’t been fully understood.

Clearly, this is a big job that should draw a pool of well-qualified candidates. A $29 million complex of the sort that Elizabethtown Sports Park promises to be, ideally located at the crossroads of major interstate highway thoroughfares, should attract a number of high-potential candidates. If it doesn’t, we’ve got a big problem on our hands.

The city has much riding on the park’s success. The outcome of this hiring decision will be key to positioning Elizabethtown Sports Park with a solid foundation for a successful future outcome. Partnered with Sports and Sales Director Jana Clark, the right person in this job will play a direct role in making sure the park operates within the boundaries of its budget. Through Clark’s efforts to fill the park’s fields with local, area and out-of-state teams enjoying competitive and recreational play, the two positions in tandem ultimately will serve to ushering in new economic development as these competitors and their families spend their money dining, shopping, exploring and staying overnight within our community.

Hiring decision makers must carefully vet the professional background and qualifications of the applicants for the position to determine who will be considered as top candidates. If the pool of applicants doesn’t provide the cream-of-the-crop candidates this position must attract, then the city must continue its search.

Too much is at stake to make a poor decision with this post.