City of Steamboat Springs hires its next Parks and Recreation director
January 29, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs grew on John Overstreet very, very quickly.
When he arrived here six months ago to fill in as the Interim Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Director, he intended for the job to just be a temporary gig.
"But it became apparent there are so many things that could happen here, and I want to be part of them long term," Overstreet said Wednesday.
It also helped that Overstreet and his family love winter recreation.
The city has hired Overstreet as its next permanent Parks and Recreation director after a nationwide search that attracted more than 140 applicants.
"We had a rigorous selection process, and he clearly was the winner," City Manager Deb Hinsvark said. "We just really made a good choice for Steamboat with John, and I’m looking forward to working with him in a more proactive role than he has been allowed to take so far" as the interim leader.
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Overstreet, 50, brings to Steamboat more than 25 years of experience in the parks and recreation field, and he has held high-level jobs in cities ranging from Denver to Oviedo, Fla.
He also carries a letter of recommendation from Gov. John Hickenlooper for his work with the parks and recreation department in the city and county of Denver.
As the deputy manager of parks and planning for that city, he managed a $22 million operating budget and a staff that embarked on more than 200 capital projects.
He also oversaw the operations of maintenance of 20,000 acres of parks and open space and seven golf courses.
Now, he’s excited to work with a new staff in Steamboat.
"It’s really a great feeling to connect to a city of this size and to work long term and do some great stuff with a great team," he said. "I really believe we have a lot of key pieces in place, and we need to build upon them. I would love to see us as a gold-medal city in the eyes of the parks and recreation world.”
Overstreet will lead the department that oversees several amenities, including Howelsen Hill, an ice arena, a tennis center, rodeo grounds and a golf course.
And he already has experience working with unique recreational amenities.
In Denver, for example, the city managed a bison herd and parks on Mount Evans.
He arrives in Steamboat at a time when several parks and recreation projects are underway.
Fundraising has started for rodeo ground improvements, and the city has made other efforts to make their recreational facilities more cost efficient.
Perhaps the hardest thing for Overstreet during the interim time period was the regular commute back home to the Front Range to see his wife, Diane, and daughters, Noelle, 12, and Anneliese, 9.
They’re looking forward to the move to Steamboat and all the skiing, ice skating, hiking and snowman building it will bring.
"They’re very happy about this," he said. "I’m excited to bring my family up here."