West Valley city opens first parks and recreation department in its history, hires director

Dec 22, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:21 pm

New parks and recreation department for city of El Mirage...

El Mirage Parks and Recreation Director Sean VonRoenn started work on Dec. 6. (City of El Mirage Photo)

(City of El Mirage Photo)

PHOENIX — One West Valley city just opened its first parks and recreation department.

El Mirage Parks and Recreation Director Sean VonRoenn started work on Dec. 6, according to a Thursday announcement.

The Colorado transplant has 25 years of experience in programming, facilities management and executive management, with a career that spans states as far away as Florida and New Hampshire.

“El Mirage presents a unique opportunity to serve in a well-established community, while also working to build something new that will enhance our mission,” VonRoenn said in a statement. “I look forward to hearing feedback on moving forward together and maximizing our recreational assets in El Mirage.”

His new job puts him in charge of planning, developing and operating the city’s parks, events, open spaces and recreation programs.

Why did the city of El Mirage create a new parks and recreation department?

The decision to open up the new department came after two years of research and preparation. The city conducted a citizen’s survey and a facility needs assessment. It also developed a plan for parks, recreation and open space.

After all this outreach, city leaders decided there was a need to expand recreational services by creating the new department. Previously, recreation was a division under the Public Works Department, but now it’s fully independent.

“Creating a new department and utilizing Sean’s experience to lead it will certainly enhance the physical, social, cultural and environmental well-being of the community,” City Manager Crystal Dyches said in a statement. “He is a tremendous asset to our team, and we invite the community to join us in welcoming him.”

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West Valley city opens first parks and recreation department in its history, hires director