City not answering questions over parks and recreation projects - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

NewsChannel 10 Investigates: Amarillo's parks and recreation department

AMARILLO, TX- Residents are sounding off about future improvements they would like to see made at parks and recreation centers across our area.

This comes following last month's retirement announcement from the City's parks and recreation director, Larry Offerdahl.

Offerdahl often admitted city money for park amenities couldn't keep up with the need for new equipment and renovations.

His last day with the city was June 30.

Since his departure, the City has been quiet about a permanent replacement and what projects may now be a bust with his absence.

The closure of the North Randall County Baseball Fields in January was one of the biggest disappointments to recreational sports. 

More than 800 children were forced to find a new place to play ball after the park shut its doors. 

The organization cited "insurmountable water costs" being billed by the city as their reason for closing.

"I think the challenge is out there for groups like the West Texas Baseball Association and the YMCA in figuring out how they can absorb this many players when a major complex such as North Randall shuts down," Offerdahl told NewsChannel 10 during a taped interview in January.

Prior to leaving, Offerdahl said the city could use double the number of baseball and softball fields that are currently in use today.

NewsChannel 10 wanted to find out if a project was in the works to do just that.

We requested to speak with anyone from the parks and recreation department along with City Manager Jarrett Atkinson, but communications coordinator Sonja Gross advised us Atkinson was not available for an interview.

Gross also stated Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Rod Tweet was in meetings Wednesday afternoon and was not available. 

NewsChannel 10 also inquired about who might be hired as a replacement for Offerdahl.

Gross sent us a generic, three sentence statement Atkinson had written for all media.

His statement reads:

"Mr. Rod Tweet, the current assistant director for Parks and Recreation, has been appointed as the Interim Director. Rod has been with the City for several years and will do very well in this interim role. The process and timeline for permanently filling the position will be decided later this summer."

News has been circulating for the last week regarding Offerdahl's retirement.

His more than $130,000 yearly salary is still up for grabs.

Meanwhile, residents have a list of things they would like to see changed.

"The parks at Martin Road are torn down," resident Maria Munoz said. "There's not really much that the kids can play with there."

April Miller says she'd like to see several of the parks cleaned up.

"There's a lot of trash," she said. "The parks are hardly picked up. It should be a daily thing rather than just some of the time."


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