Eudora entices new parks and rec director from city twice as large
photo by: Submitted photo
The newly named Eudora parks and recreation director said she is stepping down from a similar position in a much larger community because of the greater opportunities Eudora offers.
Sally Pennington is wrapping up her duties as parks and recreation director at Neosho, Mo. She has had the job in the city of about 13,000 people 15 miles south of her hometown of Joplin for 2 1/2 years.
“The size of a city has nothing to do with the recreational amenities available,” she said. “Neosha doesn’t have a rec center, aquatic center or ballfields.”
Eudora has all those things, and that made the position of parks and rec director attractive to her, Pennington said. As the Eudora parks and rec director, she will manage the maintenance of those facilities and the city’s parks, administer recreational and sports programming and help plan for future growth of the department and its facilities.
“Eudora seemed like the right step for my professional development,” she said. “There’s a lot of opportunity in Eudora.”
The investment Eudora has made in its parks and recreation department’s facilities and programming also speaks to the value the community puts in maintaining a healthy lifestyles through physical fitness, Pennington said.
“One of the reasons I considered the Eudora position was the progressive attitude,” she said. “I could see that right away. Everyone was very progressive about how they wanted to improve the community.”
Pennington was one of three candidates interviewed for the position, Eudora Assistant City Manager Leslie Herring said. She will succeed Gary Scott, who retired April 1 after more than eight years as the community’s parks and recreation director.
Pennington said she attended Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla., on a softball scholarship and graduated in 2008 with a degree in sports and recreational management. Her first job out of college was with a parks and recreation department in Springfield, Mo. She then took a position as youth director with the YMCA in Joplin that required her to manage more than 30 different sports or programs for five years before taking the position in Neosho.
Her goal for her first weeks on the job is to be visible, Pennington said.
“I really want to get out and meet people in the community,” she said. “That’s what I’m here for, to listen to the people in the community. ”