Parks boss goes to greener pastures


Staff writer

Federal Way parks director Jennifer Schroder won’t get to see the first nails driven into the new community center, senior center and pool, but she said she hopes she’ll get a day pass once it’s finished so she can see how it turns out.

Schroder announced last week she’ll be leaving Federal Way at the end of the month to take a new job overseeing parks for the city of Kirkland. “It’s a lateral move,” she said, adding, “It feels like a good step for my career.”

Schroder was one of Federal Way’s first employees after incorporation 14 years ago, and she spent the last 10 years as the director of city Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

During her tenure, she oversaw the creation of the city’s first maintenance division and creation of the city’s first Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan. She worked on the development of Celebration Park, Saghalie Park and the skate park, and she led the city to acquire and develop Dumas Bay Centre and the subsequent addition of the Knutzen Family Theatre.

She oversaw development of the BPA Trail, acquisition of the Kenneth Jones Pool when King County decided to moth ball its Forward Thrust pools, and she helped pave the way for the city to acquire the West Hylebos State Park.

As head of the parks department, she formed working partnerships with the Federal Way Historical Society, Federal Way Youth Soccer, the school district and Friends of the Hylebos Wetlands.

Most recently, Schroder helped organize the first development stages of the community center, senior center and pool. She’ll be leaving before construction begins on the new community center project in Celebration Park, but the project won’t be affected by her absence. City manager David Moseley has named assistant city manager Donna Hanson to serve as interim director of Schroder’s department until a permanent director is found.

Still, Schroder expressed disappointment that she won’t be able to see the project through to completion. “I just wish the sequence of this was better,” she said. “I would have loved to have finished this, but Kirkland just catches your eye.”

At the Federal Way City Council meeting Tuesday night, Schroder thanked the city for making her the director of parks shortly after hiring her from King County. “You all believed in me and gave me a chance,” she said. “It’s been outstanding. Thank you. It’s all I can say to all of you.”

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565,

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