April 21, 2018
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Houlton splits parks and rec responsibilities

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — Town councilors capped off a routine first of the year meeting by announcing a plan to revamp the town’s Parks and Recreation Department.

In January, councilors customarily reappoint all of the town’s municipal department heads to their respective positions.

While all of that happened, councilors also announced that responsibility for the Parks and Recreation Department essentially would be split in half.

For years, Bernard Reece has overseen the entire Parks and Recreation Department. Now he will serve as Civic Center and parks director for the town. He will oversee operation of the Millar Civic Center, which is the multiuse arena the town uses for everything from trade shows and wedding receptions to ice skating. He also will manage the town’s numerous parks.

Along with that, longtime Parks and Recreation employee Marie Carmichael was appointed to serve as Recreation Program director for the town. Carmichael, who has helped oversee operations at the Gentle Memorial Building for approximately 30 years, will be in charge of departmental programming, such as Just For Kids and other youth programs, and the Gentle Memorial Building. The building is home to a gymnasium, a game room and other facilities.

Town Manager Douglas Hazlett said the split was necessary in order to increase the revenue stream for the Millar Civic Center and allow for more concentration on both the Civic Center and Gentle Memorial Building.

“The Civic Center is one of our most expensive buildings,” Hazlett said during the meeting. “We could be using it more.”

Hazlett said that Reece, in his revamped position, would have more time to implement ways to bring more money into the facility.

There were no changes to the other reappointments.

Wade Hanson was reappointed the town’s community development director, and Kevin Tingley was recommissioned as town code enforcement officer.

Milton Cone was reappointed to serve as ambulance director, fire chief and cemetery superintendent.

Along with his town manager duties, Hazlett will continue serving as airport director and emergency management director.

Police Chief Butch Asselin was reappointed to the helm of the Houlton Police Department, and Leigh Stilwell was given the nod to retain his seat as director of the Public Works Department.

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