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Parks & Rec Department Leader Making Kalamazoo A Special Place

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With some 36 parks, three golf courses, and numerous city-sponsored community and athletic events for all ages, Kalamazoo residents don’t lack for things to do in their fair city.

Yes, we have craft beer, music, culture, and theatre. We also have summer camps, volleyball leagues, golf courses, holiday events, and more.

The mission of the Kalamazoo City Parks and Recreation Department is to create a community of neighborhoods where people live, work, and play. They accomplish this by being good stewards of the environment; providing dynamic parks, trails and recreation programs for all citizens; and by promoting youth development initiatives in support of healthy families.

"I am responsible for the overall administration of the department," said Sean Fletcher, Director of the Kalamazoo City Parks and Rec. "I work with three managers to provide parks and many recreation programs for city residents. I truly enjoy what I do and believe that Parks & Recreation positively impacts the quality of life in Kalamazoo!"

Fletcher grew up in Jackson and relocated to Kalamazoo to attend college at Western Michigan University (WMU). He received a bachelor's degree in recreation with health education and coaching minors.

While attending WMU, he worked at the Student Recreation Center for more than six years as a student employee, then full-time for about eight months before taking a job in Canton, where he worked for 15 years.

“The day I left Kalamazoo for Canton I knew I would come back if I had the opportunity. I also wanted to be the director of a Parks & Recreation Department. Kalamazoo is a fun town and it has a certain vibe that I really enjoy. I also love being close to Lake Michigan."

Fletcher said he shares his love for the outdoors with his family.

Kzoo Parks planting

“My four-year-old daughter also loves going to the beach in South Haven, so we go at least 10 times every summer. She also enjoys visiting parks and being outdoors, so we go to Milham, Spring Valley, and other parks frequently,” he said. “I love to golf and play 50-plus 18-hole rounds per summer.”

What other special things does Kalamazoo have to offer?

The department tries to offer programs and events that the city residents will enjoy. Lunchtime Live! (http://blog.downtownkalamazoo.org/experience-downtown/events/lunchtime-live/) has been very successful for us since it began in 2013. When the weather cooperates we have 300+ people in Bronson Park listening to a local band, enjoying food from local food trucks, and enjoying a great park.

The next big events are Safe Halloween and the annual Tree Lighting in Bronson Park.

The Parks and Recreation staff is busiest from spring through fall, which is when many of the programs and special events are. They spend a lot of time from December through March planning the next year and serve thousands of residents annually.

For more information, visit Kzooparks.org.

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