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News: First 100 Days On The Job: New Superintendent of Parks & Recreation, Dr. Josh Medeiros

Date Published Author
6/13/2019 12:00:00 AM   

BRISTOL - In his first 100 days as superintendent of Parks and Recreation, Josh Medeiros has been making changes. A lot of them are administrative in nature to start, Medeiros said, citing most notably the development of division-specific budgets to make the overall financial side of the department more transparent and accountable. “Transparency and accountability is paramount,” he said. “That’s why we’ve engaged in strategic planning with administrative staff, including the establishment of department goals and objectives for 2019-20.”
“We’re also trying to engage the Parks Commission in a more proactive way, which is why we developed a new Superintendent Report for the monthly meetings to provide substantial detail about highlights from the department and ongoing projects,” he continued.

Medeiros was hired to head the department in February and resigned from the City Council to take the position. He replaced Brian Wilson, who left last November to pursue a new job at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. A Bristol resident for the last 10 years, Medeiros has a master’s degree in parks and recreation administration from Southern Connecticut State University, as well as a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of Hartford. He had previously headed parks and recreation departments in Canton and Cheshire.
So far, the mayor and City Council are pleased with what they see. “Josh has also spearheaded several new projects that will help grow the services over time, and improve the quality of life for the thousands of Bristol residents that take advantage of parks programs every year,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.

Among these collaborations is a new partnership with Home Depot, in which the store staff provided free mulch and planted patriotic flowers along Memorial Boulevard. Medeiros has also been working on developing a new “All Heart Pop-Up Parks” initiative, funded in part by the Main Street Community Foundation Broad View Fund Grant, according to the mayor’s office.
Medeiros has been working with the Board of Education athletic director Chris Cassin and facilities director Peter Fusco in the hopes that the two departments can streamline field scheduling and field maintenance. He has also been working with Public Works on several items, such as equipment sharing and acquiring refurbished equipment to save the city money, including a garbage truck from Public Works and a backhoe from the Water Department for a savings of over $100,000.

“Residents may also have noticed some changes taking place at Page and Rockwell parks, ” Medeiros said. “We’re also continuing design work for a new pool at Page Park, with the expectation that construction will begin in the fall and the new pool will be open summer 2020.”
“In the meantime, I’m pleased to report that our aquatics supervisor has developed a new Water Safety Awareness event to increase awareness for drowning safety coming into the summer season. The program is also endorsed by the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association,” he said.

In April, Parks established a new rain garden at Page with the help of the Pequabuck River Watershed Association, and began working with volunteers to create a new mountain biking trail system at Rockwell, which is slated to get underway mid-summer. “But our programs are only exciting when local residents get to take advantage of them,” Medeiros said. “That’s why we made it a priority to engage the Friends of Bristol Parks and Recreation for additional scholarship monies to support qualifying Bristol families, helping to ensure that everyone has access to great recreational services and camps, regardless of income.”

As for what’s next, Medeiros said he is excited to begin work on establishing other new initiatives, including a “Celebrate a Life: Memorial Tree Program,” Art in the Park to paint murals on park roads and in select spaces, and annual giving campaigns to support the Friends of Bristol Parks and Recreation fund.