by Ivan Foley
Brian Nowotny, Platte County’s longtime director of parks and recreation, is leaving his post.
Nowotny submitted a letter of resignation to county commissioners this week. He told commissioners he is leaving to accept a position as deputy director of parks with Jackson County.
“He said it’s a larger park system, a good career opportunity for him and more money,” Ron Schieber, presiding commissioner, said of Nowotny’s resignation.
Schieber said Nowotny will remain on the job with Platte County until June 28.
“There are projects that we’ve asked him to put together, a project list that we’ve asked him to put together. We want to make sure someone’s responsible for keeping those projects up to date through a transition period,” Schieber said.
“We will be looking for ways to transition away from Brian to a new direction,” Schieber said.
Asked if the park director position will be filled, Schieber said: “I think it will eventually be filled. Brian provided a job description to commissioners that we have passed on to the human resources department for input. I don’t know how long it takes to find a person that we (all three commissioners) will agree on and to go through the interview process.”
Schieber said there is no specific timeframe established for finding a replacement.
Reached Tuesday, Nowotny said the decision to leave Platte County was a difficult one for him to make.
“It was a tough choice to make. I love this job. The people in Platte County are amazing to work for. I’m honored to have worked for the citizens all these years,” he said.
Nowotny said he will be one of two deputy directors of parks and recreation in Jackson County. He will be involved in the areas of parks and trails operations, maintenance, development and improvement.
Nowotny began work in Platte County as the county’s first-ever parks and recreation director on Feb. 1, 2001. At the time, his hiring was the latest step in the development of a parks system in the county.
In August of 2000, voters in Platte County approved a half cent sales tax dedicated to parks development. The tax had a 10-year sunset. It was later renewed by voters for another 10 years.
“Now that we have the funding in place, it was extremely important to get an experienced and enthusiastic director in place who can begin working with our board of park commissioners,” Michael Short, then-first district commissioner, told The Landmark in December of 2000.
Nowotny’s responsibilities as the county’s first ever parks director included supervising park land acquisition, park design, trail construction and construction of new recreation facilities such as the community centers.
The director was assigned to take a lead role in securing grant money for parks and trails and meeting with community organizations to discuss partnerships on projects.
Nowotny came to Platte County after serving as superintendent of the Arkansas City, Kan. Recreation Commission. There, he was responsible for all areas of recreation planning and management, including overseeing the operation of two sports complexes and several youth and adult sports and leisure programs.
Previous to his employment in Arkansas City, Nowotny served as the assistant director of parks and recreation for the city of Borger, Tex. He has a bachelor of landscape architecture degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Tex.