The Fayette County Park District met for its first official meeting on Wednesday and named the chairman, vice chairman and treasurer of the board.
The three-member board accomplished a few crucial tasks during the meeting at the county offices before beginning the development of the district. The first order of business was to name the positions for the board. Bob Pitakos was voted as the chairman of the board unanimously.
Pitakos moved to Fayette County in 1980 and was hired by the State of Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources, where he remained for 31 years. He left after his tenure in the position of assistant parks manager and was also in charge of regional law enforcement for Region Six, which consists of Madison Lake, Deer Creek State Park and Buckeye Lake. After leaving in 2010, Pitakos became an auxiliary deputy with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and even served as dog warden for a few years.
“This is my career, this is what I went to college for, this is what I did for the state,” Pitakos said. “To be in this capacity, I mean the sky is the limit. The enthusiasm when I sit back and think what we can do and what we can benefit, not only people of the county, but the people coming in the county. It scares me sometimes, I think what did I get myself into, but overall I am excited. Hopefully, 10 years from now, when the board has been established, they can look back and say, ‘Wow, the three of them did a great job getting us started.’”
Angie Tackett was voted as the vice chairman unanimously by the board. Tackett, who works for Heartland Hospice, has ties in many other community organizations. Besides her work in various support groups, she is knowledgeable of and well known by businesses inside as well as outside the county, and also works in marketing, education and said she does a little of everything. She also said she is planning on contacting other park districts in other counties.
“I am really excited, there has been so many things that have been taken away from the county as a whole that I want to see given back,” Tackett said. “There are so many things that all generations in this community need, not just one or another. I want to benefit not just the city and not just the county, but everyone. I am really excited to get started.”
Also approved unanimously during the meeting was Dave Kiger, the final board member, who was voted as the treasurer to the board. Kiger has been practicing law in Fayette County for 25 years and said he is just a humble member of the community. He was asked by some “very philanthropic members of the community” to serve and thought the district was a great idea for the county.
“I am proud to have been appointed and excited to serve,” Kiger said. “I agree with Angie and Bob, there are a vast number of opportunities to help our community. I look forward to the future. I think this is a good body and we have a lot of good plans.”
Opting to not hire a private entity, the board will rely on Kiger to keep an accurate report of incoming funds and outgoing expenses. Additionally, Fayette County Auditor Mike Smith and his team were taken up on their offer to handle various responsibilities as the new board becomes established to make accounts available for expenses and incoming monies. Kiger will work with Smith and his team, as will the other members of the board, to help give the district a strong foundation moving forward .
“There is a lot of ground, foundation work that we need to get done,” Pitakos said. “The first thing we have to work on are our bylaws. Jess Weade (Fayette County Prosecutor) has been working with Dave and they have come up with a basic bylaw that we are going to review. It is my purpose as a board to create a solid foundation to build off of for years to come. I think that is where you get a strong park department, you have to have a strong foundation. You have to know where you want to be and for us it is where do you want to be in six months, a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now? How do we want to function as a park board – do we want to run it all as a whole or let the entities within handle a lot and we look for the funding for these projects? It is my total intention to involve the county residents, they have to be the backbone for this board to work properly.”
The board also approved a regular meeting day of the first Wednesday of the month at noon at the county building, either on floor two or four. The board also said it could potentially open up other meeting dates in the evening as well as hold more meetings as they continue to build the district.
Tackett also spoke about the “Fayette County Park District” Facebook page that she created recently. They are encouraging residents to visit the page and provide input to the board.
Finally, a few village leaders from Jeffersonville, and Sarah and Don Creamer (with various groups), offered their services to help with the district, and Dave Stanton, who served as the golf course superintendent at the Club at Quail Run, urged the board to purchase the golf course as soon as possible to keep that resource available.
“The main message we wanted to get out to the residents is to bear with us,” Pitakos said. “This process won’t happen overnight. It is a daunting task and we are practically a baby learning to crawl and are just starting to sit up, so please be patient. We would really like to invite the community to come in and join us as we work on establishing this district.”
The next meeting of the Fayette County Park District will be Feb. 1 at noon at 133 S. Main St. in Washington C.H.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy