FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — After a nearly six-month delay due to COVID-19, Fairview Park earlier this month appointed new Recreation Director Kerry Kemp. He replaced Steven Owens, who was not retained by Fairview Park Mayor Patrick Cooney.
“We had about 30 applicants — including one in-house person — for the position,” Cooney said. “From there it was narrowed down to six interviews. We were about to make a hire when the pandemic hit and everything stopped.”
The mayor said what impressed him about Kemp was his diverse resume. A native of Port Clinton, the new rec director’s most recent position was as athletic director at Middleburg Heights.
Kemp also had collegiate intramural experience at the University of Notre Dame, Ohio State University and University of Kentucky.
“He’s been involved in recreation since a teenager, where he worked for the city of Port Clinton,” Cooney said.
A Northeast Ohio resident for the last four years, Kemp said he’s had his eye on Fairview Park during that time.
“I’ve had a fondness for Fairview Park,” Kemp said. “I’ve always looked at ways to develop professionally and to advance in my career. When this position opened up, it was a no-brainer for me to go for it.”
Unlike other communities, Fairview Park’s rec director position is unique in its breadth of responsibility.
“From the programming side of it, we have the Gemini Center,” Cooney said. “There are a lot of capital issues involving facilities, so we wanted somebody who had experience in dealing with budgets and repairs.
“We also have the Fairview High School stadium and track, which the city is responsible for. At Notre Dame, Kerry had the experience with turf management, turf replacement and facility management experience.”
The other thing that impressed Cooney is Kemp — who is an active football referee, basketball referee and baseball umpire — has his finger on the pulse of the Northeast Ohio recreation community.
“He’s somebody who is tied to the industry,” Cooney said. “We’re excited to have him.”
Looking ahead at recreation needs in Fairview Park, the mayor said the goal is to expand and improve programming at the Gemini Center, which is used by everyone from infants to seniors.
“So many people take ownership over the Gemini Center, programs and parks making this an ideal place to work,” Kemp said. “Our staff, residents and members are already so engaged. I look forward to growing both personally and professionally with them.”
Cooney also would like to explore connectivity between Fairview Park and the Metroparks.
“Kerry is going to bring a fresh set of eyes to our rec department,” Cooney said. “He has a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of experience. He’s on top of the trends in the recreation industry. I think that’ll be beneficial to us.”
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