The city of Weatherford’s Parks, Recreation and Special Events Department was recently recognized by the Texas Recreation and Park Society North Region.
Recreation Manager David Mote won Recreation Professional of the Year 2019, and Cherry Park Pool won the Recreational Facility Design Award for 2019. In addition, Soldier Spring Park won outstanding facility in the public small tennis centers category from the United States Tennis Association.
Cherry Park Pool reopened in June after undergoing renovations. The pool, which is more than 70 years old, had to be closed after pool season in 2017 because of failure in the filtration system, and parks department leaders took this as an opportunity to design the pool. The new pool is split into two parts, one side with swim lanes and the other with an open area and aquatic play structure.
“It also goes to show that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with an old facility by just maybe adding a few amenities,” Mote said.
The two awards show that the parks department is listening to feedback from residents, Parks, Recreation and Special Events Department Director Shannon Goodman said. The pool award in particular was managed by the city throughout the entire process.
“We’re not right in the heart of the Metroplex, and we’re not that larger city that might have all the funding in the world, so we try to be very creative with the funding that we have and we try to be very innovative,” Goodman said. “A lot of the things that we do out here in Weatherford, we have to manage ourselves. It’s not just hiring a contractor to come do it, so when we can get an honor like this, we feel very proud of it because we had a lot of hands-on involvement in this pool design.”
The award for Cherry Park Pool was based on adaptivity, originality and innovation of the design, cooperation between the parks department and the designer, and the community impact, Goodman said.
The pool garnered more swimmers participating in swim meets than ever before and was booked all summer for pool reservations. More than 14,000 people attended the pool through summer programming, Mote said.
“We opened two weeks later because of the renovations and we still ended up having higher revenue than we’ve had in previous years, our highest revenue to date, and we had higher attendance all season long that we’ve ever had,” Goodman said. “It goes to show you that the community is very receptive of the new layout of the pool and the new design.”
Mote has been working with the city of Weatherford for more than a year but is in his 24th year in the profession. Mote was nominated by Goodman and Parks, Recreation and Special Events Department Assistant Director Jaycob Kirkpatrick, Mote said. To win the award, Mote was voted on by his peers in the parks and recreation profession.
“It’s actually a great honor to represent these guys, the city of Weatherford and the parks and recreation department,” Mote said.
Mote has the opportunity to advance to the state level for recreation professional of the year, and he’ll know the results of that contest in January.
Mote’s win honors the whole parks department team, he said.
“It’s an individual award, but it really takes teamwork to kind of achieve an award like this,” Mote said. “I couldn’t do it without Shannon and Jaycob’s support and my other co-workers, everybody in the office, it’s really a team award.”
Goodman said the department is fortunate to have Mote on their team. He described Mote as detail-oriented and a problem solver, particularly in bringing more recreational opportunities to the community. As an example of Mote’s work, Goodman mentioned that Mote organized this year’s Barnyard Cornhole and Cook-off Competition, which received high praise and ushered in people outside Weatherford as well.
“He loves what he does and that shows in his work, and he’s a very humble guy so it’s going to take someone else submitting him for an award before you would know that he was going to get one; he would never so that himself,” Goodman said. “That’s part of who he is, too. That’s part of what makes him such a good team player.”