Mark moving on after 16 years serving TRC
Ken Mark has seen a lot of changes in the time he's been with the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission.
But now after 16 years on the board, 12 of which were as its chairman, Mark said it was time for him to move on.
"I am not burned out and still feel that I have a lot of energy and ideas," Mark said. "But I think 16 years is enough and it is time for others to move the TRC forward. Our board now is a young, energetic group of people. David Jones will do a great job as chairman."
Mark officially stepped down from his position Tuesday after attending his last official meeting June 19.
During his time with the TRC, Mark has seen some changes in operation of the commission including the hiring of a full-time director instead of using volunteer work or by contracting out work. In 1994 Mark Zerrer's appointment as the first TRC director allowed the commission to grow.
In 2003 the commission hired its current director Gayle Parker. Parker said that he appreciated all of the work Mark has done for the city and credits him for bringing him back into the profession.
Parker also said Mark had spent a lot of time and energy to make the commission what it is today.
"He shows a passion for the recreation commission," Parker said. "He's been involved in the creation of Chieftain Park and our expansion has allowed us to expand our other programs."
TRC not only expanded its available programs, but also its physical area.
Mark said one of TRC's biggest accomplishments in the past 16 years was the development of Chieftain Park. The city acquired land that used to be a mobile home park after it flooded in 1993. The land was then converted into what is now Chieftain Park.
"This park, along with the nearby VFW Park give Tonganoxie wonderful parks, better than most communities our size," Mark said.
He is also proud of the expansion of the baseball and soccer fields at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.
When Mark first joined the board there were already two fields at the fairgrounds. He said that with cooperation from the Leavenworth County Fair Board, the TRC was able to add two more baseball fields and improve the existing fields.
During his last year on the board, TRC has been working on acquiring five more acres of land from the fair board to build three more fields, north of the existing fields, across the creek.
Mark said TRC expansion would not have been possible without the good working relationship the commission had with the school board and with the city. He said he was proud of the close relationships they've developed.
Mark said the things he will miss the most are working on big projects, such as expanding the ball fields, and the people.
For now, Mark will continue teaching at Kansas City Kansas Community College for a few more years and will continue his involvement with the Teachers of Accounting at Two Year Colleges.
Board member David Jones will be the new chairman and Steve Miller will fill the board's vacancy. With the hiring of a new assistant director scheduled for later this month, Mark said he was confident for the future of the TRC.
"I think every community has a number of citizens who try to make that community a better place to live and Tonganoxie has had more than its share of such people," he said. "I have just tried to do my share. Our motto at KCKCC, where I have taught for 33 years, is 'Making Life Better.' I think that Tonganoxie has had a number of people working to do that."