Rip Robertson is the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Tucker.
The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. Take Thanksgiving, for example. You combine food, football and family; what could be better? Of course, family is the most important part of that equation. I was blessed this year to spend the holiday with my beautiful wife, daughter and granddaughter and I could not have asked for more.
I have a family at work, too. I am part of the most talented Parks and Recreation team in the State of Georgia and if you read this column often, you know that I like to brag on them when I have the chance. This past month, my team brought home a myriad of awards from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association’s District 6 banquet. District 6 covers about 30 city and county operations from DeKalb County in the north, south to Perry and east to Wilkes County. I want to congratulate Jason Collins, Ray Rollins and Joe Stewart for their outstanding accomplishments.
Jason won the award for Park Operations Professional of the Year. What that means is that your Tucker parks are maintained, litter is collected and improvements are made because of the hard work of Jason and the team he oversees. Ray was named Young Professional of the Year. If you don’t know, Ray is responsible for everything that happens inside of our Tucker Recreation Center. The classes, the programs, the summer camps; Ray has his hands on all of it. Joe was tabbed as the Athletics and Aquatics Professional of the Year. His work in establishing our basketball, golf and pickleball leagues has been outstanding.
We also won awards for Special Event of the Year (Sip and Stroll) and Agency of the Year. Oh, and I was humbled to receive the award for Distinguished Professional of the Year. Believe me when I say, recreation professionals are a hardworking bunch and to win this award, especially in light of all the hurdles we’ve had to overcome, I’m very, very proud.
On the whole, these six awards are huge accomplishments and I can assure you they are magnified considering they happened largely during the coronavirus pandemic.
I also want to update you on some improvements we’ve made in our parks. There is a brand-new walkway at the pollinator garden in Tucker Nature Preserve. We’ve completed work on a boardwalk along the trail at Kelley Cofer Park. There is a new roof on the Peach Pit at Kelley Cofer Park. And, of course, we’ve put the finishing touches on the new solar roof at Tucker Recreation Center. Any of these projects would merit a column on their own, but they don’t give me that much space in InTucker. So I’ll invite you to go to www.youtube.com/CityofTucker, where I’ve put together a video tour showcasing some of these improvements.
Also, a special thanks to all who came out on November 20 for our ribbon cutting to celebrate the improvements at Peters Park. I wrote at length about this last month, but the new playground and amenities at this park were truly the result of collaboration and partnership between the City and its neighbors in the Peters Park community. I am excited to see increased use and enjoyment of this park in the months to come.
Lastly, we are gearing up for a very uncertain winter. It is our job to provide the community with recreation options, but it is our most important job to provide those safely. That’s why we’re going to offer a modified basketball league this winter. Your son or daughter can sign up through December 4 but understand this will not look like what we did last year. Again, caution is the key word. We have had tremendous success with the open pickleball play at Tucker Recreation Center. People are able to sign up online and play with protocols in place to ensure we’re not spreading the virus. Pickleball has been one of our biggest successes to date. When you talk about recreational sports on the rise, this is as hot a sport as there is. It is my hope that pickleball will give people a safe outlet to get some exercise during what promises to be a challenging winter.
Thank you for your continued support and we’ll see you in 2021!