Junction’s fun guy: Rec center high on Schoeber’s priority list
Rob Schoeber is in charge of making sure Grand Junction has fun.
The director of the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department has been on the job a little more than a year, moving from Cody, Wyo., in September of 2008. Before Cody, he had been the recreation director in Rawlins, Wyo.
Running a parks and recreation department in a community the size of Grand Junction compelled him to make his first visit to western Colorado.
As impressed as he was with the parks and recreation facilities Grand Junction had to offer, that wasn’t the primary factor in his decision to accept the position.
“I was so impressed with the attitude of the staff,” he said, citing the people working for not only the recreation department but the parks department and Grand Junction’s two municipal golf courses.
“The staff that does our (recreational) programming is very creative, both in their scheduling in the programs they’ve developed,” Schoeber said.
His department maintains 12 city parks (with two under development) and the municipal cemetery. His Lincoln Park staff last year kept Stocker Stadium and Suplizio Field in excellent shape through football and baseball seasons.
The Daily Sentinel visited with Schoeber about his impressions during his 13 months on the job and where he hopes to guide it in achieving short- and long-term goals.
A: The Lincoln Park area is kind of a diamond in the rough with Stocker Stadium, Suplizio Field, the golf course and the park itself.
A: That was one of my main goals in the community. I’ve been through it twice (in Rawlins and Cody). In both facilities, they changed the community more than I imagined. They bring families together.
A: The Grand Valley Recreation Committee is exploring possibilities. It could be through a sales tax ballot issue. In my other departments we were able to (procure some) private funding.
A: I really believe that the good projects that are well planned out can move through. The facility would be operated with general funds. Building it is one aspect; operating it is another.
A: We are part of the general fund so (all city departments) are in it together. No one (department) is feeling it any more than the other. We’re lucky. Parks and recreation has a very high priority in this community.
A: We’re shifting more from the construction mode (of parks) to the maintenance mode, which is good. If you’re just building and building and building, you kind of lose track of that maintenance aspect.
A: I think we’re fortunate to have two great municipal golf courses (Lincoln Park and Tiara Rado). Our aquatics facilities are first-rate, and I like our partnerships with the schools and Mesa (State College) to use them.
A: Through people who have seen programs in other communities. We are proactive. We have some that lose their spunk. We drop them and add others.
A: The good thing is they pay for themselves (through fees). We’re continuing to be innovative. Our youth programs are stronger than ever.
A: Upgrading our facilities. We have not developed a new park in 10 years (two are in the planning stages). There’s a proposal for a new stadium at Lincoln Park, both football and baseball, with (upgrades in) seating, rest rooms and concessions. We’re (also) promoting a lot of staff development in terms of certification. And we need to develop a master plan for priorities for our department.