When we began the movement for cityhood back in 2013, we envisioned for Tucker a government that would handle a few core functions that met two important criteria: they needed to be the ones where more local control could have the greatest possible impact and they needed to be the ones most highly prioritized by the citizens of Tucker. That’s how we arrived at Code Enforcement, Zoning and Planning and Parks and Recreation. We delivered on the first two pretty quickly.
Parks and Recreation is a different kind of challenge. Tucker’s parks are one of the aspects that sets it apart from much of the rest of the county. Our parks boast great hiking trails, playgrounds, nature and even a little bit of history. Tucker Recreation Center is the most used rec center in DeKalb County. Assuming responsibility for these was going to take time, especially if we wanted it done right. They are much more capital- and labor-intensive than the other two services and require much more planning and preparation.
We’ve now laid the groundwork and we’re ready to move forward. Tucker’s very first Parks and Recreation Director will start later this month. Parks and Rec veteran Rip Robertson will spend the remainder of the year working with City staff and coordinating with the County to come up with the best strategy for Tucker to assume responsibility for its Parks and Recreation on January 1 without disrupting the services and programs that are already in place.
I want you to know it’s a priority for the City Council and me to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible. We have worked with the various Friends of the parks groups, as well as with the Tucker Recreation Center staff to figure out ways to make this happen. So many young people play their soccer games at Henderson Park. Hundreds of parents rely on Tucker Rec for their after-school care. We want to make sure folks continue to enjoy these amenities, but with an even higher level of service.
It’s my sincere hope and belief that, over time, Tucker’s Parks and Recreation facilities will flourish under this more local approach. As we study the best practices of cities and counties near and far, we look forward to making Tucker a leader in this very important field.