Springfield, MO

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Parks director to retire

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Springfield-Greene County Parks Director Jodie Adams has put in motion plans to retire, effective Nov. 10. Adams is the third person to hold the post.

Adams, 54, has served as the parks director since January 2006 and has been employed by the Parks Department for nearly three decades. She is retiring to spend more time traveling and with family after years of what she calls a "24/7 schedule," according to a news release.

“Jodie has had a distinguished career, one that has helped Springfield and Greene County become known nationwide as a leader and innovator in the parks and recreation field,” Park Board Chairman Jerry Clark said in the release. “We can be proud of her service and the legacy she leaves the community.”

The Park Board and City Manager Greg Burris have agreed to appoint Assistant Parks Director Bob Belote as interim director until a permanent director is selected.

As parks director, Adams is responsible for managing a $34 million annual operating budget; 225 full-time and 700 part-time employees; more than 100 parks and facilities; roughly 100 miles of trails; and more than 2,000 programs.

Adams joined the Parks Department in 1974 as a part-time day camp counselor, tennis instructor and scorekeeper while still a student at Parkview High School.

After graduating high school, Adams was heavily recruited to play college tennis but chose to attend and play at Missouri State University.

“I really wanted to stay and serve my hometown,” Adams said in the release. “It’s because I was that park kid that we see on a daily basis. I grew up in parks. Parks like Doling and Grant Beach were and still are safe havens. They were gathering places for me to meet friends, family and neighbors.”

In 1980, she became a full-time supervisor and was named superintendent of recreation in 1993. In 2003, she became assistant director, serving under Parks Director Dan Kinney, who she succeeded three years later, the release said.

Under Adams' leadership, the Park Board acquired, opened, renovated or expanded more than 60 parks and facilities, including the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, Dan Kinney Park, and the renovation of such parks as Sequiota, Fassnight and Doling.

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