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Parks boss goes to greener pastures
By ERICA HALL
Federal Way parks director Jennifer Schroder wont get to see the first nails driven into the new community center, senior center and pool, but she said she hopes shell get a day pass once its finished so she can see how it turns out.
Schroder announced last week shell be leaving Federal Way at the end of the month to take a new job overseeing parks for the city of Kirkland. Its a lateral move, she said, adding, It feels like a good step for my career.
Schroder was one of Federal Ways 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 citys first maintenance division and creation of the citys 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. Shell be leaving before construction begins on the new community center project in Celebration Park, but the project wont be affected by her absence. City manager David Moseley has named assistant city manager Donna Hanson to serve as interim director of Schroders department until a permanent director is found.
Still, Schroder expressed disappointment that she wont 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. Its been outstanding. Thank you. Its all I can say to all of you.
Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org