BY MELANIE WADE –
The City of Mena named their new Parks and Recreation Director on Monday. John Stubbs has been hired to take on the multi-sport complex and manage operations at McMillan Pool. Previous director, Nathan Fowler, worked his last day in December before beginning his newest venture.
Stubbs comes with more than a decade of experience in the same industry, running a park much like Tapley in a Mississippi town for 12 years, including overseeing the athletic activities that were offered. “It’s a God thing,” said Stubbs, who applied and persistently checked on the position. “I’ve been here for three years, my wife has been here for seven years. CMA brought us here.”
Mayor George McKee said they received a large stack of applications, including Stubbs’ and interviewed two qualified candidates. “He’s going to do a great job for us,” said McKee.
Stubbs’ experience includes overseeing the same sports included at Tapley Park – baseball, softball, and soccer. He was also an umpire in Mississippi for more than two decades. “I like serving people and I like to provide the best we can. My goal is to see the park be productive, not just for the kids that come and play, but to actually be productive and see the money that people are spending out there, that they see a return on that, to see it grow and benefit the city.”
In Mississippi, he proudly said, that the participation numbers in their athletic programs rose from 350 children to over 700. He attributes that success to “great parents” that are involved. “I’m just the veseel that’s there to help. When you get the parents involved and teach the kids how to respect the playing fields and get involved. They gain respect for the area and are proud of it.”
He also wants to make sure that more than just the players and parents have a good time. Whether it is a grandparent or just someone that wants to watch a little ball. “There’s a lot of people that grew up playing ball and they don’t care who’s playing, they just want to watch a game. That’s my ideal, we want to make sure the kids are safe, they have a fun time, but anybody else that comes, that they also have an experience they will remember. We want to make sure that everyone that comes there has a good time and it’s a place they want to come back to.”