Brookhaven Parks and Recreation Director Ray Holloway began work with the city of Brookhaven in January. He formerly served as the parks and recreation director for Clinton, Miss., and brings more than 20 years of parks management experience to the position. Reporter Newspapers asked Holloway a few questions about his new job and what he envisions for the future of Brookhaven’s parks system.
Q. What do you see that you would like to improve about the city’s parks and recreation programs?
A. There is no question that Brookhaven Parks and Facilities need some attention, and I’m very excited to see what the final Brookhaven Parks and Recreation Master Plan reveals. I’d like to ensure that all updates to our parks and facilities meet user needs, and we make parks safer and more user friendly. This includes making sure all grounds and facilities are ADA compliant and consistently well-maintained. It is important that we work to enhance existing assets while also seeking out opportunities for future growth — and that’s exactly what the master plan will guide us to do.
As time permits, and with the right qualified professional staff in place, I would definitely like for Brookhaven’s Parks and Recreation Department to introduce recreation opportunities that everyone can have a vested interest in. In the future, the Brookhaven Parks and Recreation Department hopes to introduce a variety of traditional and non-traditional activities, including special events like tournaments and competitions, therapeutics for seniors and mentally- and physically-disabled children and adults, and recreational activities including seasonal camps, clinics and workshops.
Q. What about Brookhaven’s current parks and recreation system would you like to preserve?
A. Each park in Brookhaven has a distinct character that surrounding neighborhoods are very proud of. I would like to make sure each park’s character remains intact as we work to make improvements.
Q. How do you define your role in helping move Brookhaven’s parks and recreation forward?
A. Brookhaven, being a young new city, has the unique opportunity to create its own identity. I see myself helping to shape Brookhaven’s identity as a city with premier parks. As Director of Parks and Recreation, I will be actively involved in all evaluation and planning activities, and tasked with executing the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. In the future, my staff and I will also be responsible for launching programs and scheduling special events, tournaments and league play.
Q. What interested you in taking the job of Parks and Recreation Director in Brookhaven, a new city that has never had a parks and rec director before?
A. The excitement of starting something from the ground up, combined with the city’s passion and solid leadership, are all reasons that drew me to Brookhaven. It is rewarding to help people enjoy physical activity by providing a variety of opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy our parks and facilities. It is my hope that Brookhaven families will be able to take pride in fulfilling their recreational interests at the city’s parks and recreational facilities for years to come.
I feel very fortunate to have another opportunity to work in this profession that I am deeply passionate about. For me, this position is a welcomed challenge, and I look forward to understanding the needs of Brookhaven park users and utilizing my knowledge and experience to develop a parks and recreation system that matches the city’s first-class standard.