Folks looking to register for programs through the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department needn’t bother going to the village municipal complex on W. Burdick St. anymore.
After 15 years of leasing space from the village, the department’s offices are now located inside Seymour Lake Township Park, just east of the park entrance.
On Monday, the two-story, 2,500-square-foot office space officially opened for business.
“I’m excited to get the general public in here so they can see it,” said Parks and Rec. Director Ron Davis.
“It’s nice to have our own space, to be totally on our own,” said Recreation Developer Dan Sullivan.
Beginning in May, a whole host of contractors from in and around Oxford worked hard to transform the park’s former maintenance barn into the department’s new office space.
“It exceeded my expectations,” said Davis, adding that when folks who knew it as a maintenance facility see it now, they “just can’t believe” the transformation.
“It turned out exactly the way we wanted – nicer, actually . . . The carpet, the colors, the tile, everything just fit together,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Kinasz. “We knew going in what we were looking to do, so we did have that vision up front.”
The first floor has a reception area and individual offices for the recreation specialist, Dawn Medici, and two recreation developers, Lauren Jacobsen and Sullivan.
“I think it’s amazing,” Jacobsen said. “It looks awesome. It smells brand new.”
“I’m really excited to be out here at our park where so many things are happening,” she added. “I would say, easily, 75 percent of our programs (take place here), all throughout the year – soccer programs, softball, all sorts of stuff.”
“Half of my programs are now run outside our front door,” he said. “For me to get to the fields – soccer, softball, baseball – (or to the) splash pad, anything I oversee . . . it’s a little more convenient.”
Medici likes the fact she now has her very own office where she can think, conduct business over the phone and meet with people without having to worry about interruptions or distractions.
“I’ll be able to have some privacy,” she said. “I can close my door . . . I’m just excited to have a space to call home.”
Davis’ office is on the second floor adjacent to a conference room and storage space. His windows offer a great view of all the park’s amenities, from the Kids Kingdom playground and softball fields to the splash pad and tennis courts.
He noted this is his fifth office in 22 years as director. “Fifth and final,” Davis said. “I leave here, I’m headed to retirement. I’m not moving again.”
Davis was appreciative of the Oxford school district for previously donating five used desks, plus credenzas, to help furnish the offices, plus a used flagpole that will stand near the main entrance.
With so many people already utilizing Seymour Lake Park for their various recreational activities and programs, it makes sense to parks and rec. staff members that their offices be located there so they can answer questions, provide information, accept program registrations and handle any issues that may arise.
“Every day, there’s people in this park that will probably just stop in and get information, instead of (having) to run up town,” Kinasz said. “Once everybody gets used to it, I think they’ll like it because they’re coming here anyway. Whether it’s the playground, the splash pad, softball, soccer, whatever it is, most people are coming out here to do something.”
“It is a few more miles outside of town, but it’s a one-stop shop now,” Sullivan said. “You can come here, then head out into the park.”
Having the administrative offices and maintenance facility – a new one was built on the park’s southeast side – finally situated on the same site will be convenient for the staff as well.
“That will save me a lot of time running back and forth,” Kinasz said. “It’s going to shorten up our day because we’re all here together now. That makes it a lot easier on everybody, I think.”
In addition to offices, the building contains a spacious multipurpose community room that will be used for everything from recreation programs and coaches meetings to safety classes and private events. The private events are expected to generate additional revenue for the department via rental fees.
“The community room provides us a huge opportunity to (implement) some additional programming that we don’t currently offer as well as hold meetings and (conduct) training,” Sullivan said.
Kinasz wished to “thank everybody” who contributed to making this project happen, including township officials, contractors and the taxpayers. He singled out the contractors for some special thanks.
“The contractors helped us every step of the way,” he said. “They all stepped up and (went) the extra mile to get this done on time, which is hard to do. It’s really hard to keep everybody moving, but they did it.”
The parks and rec. office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit www.oxparkrec.org or call (248) 628-1720.