New Farmington Parks Superintendent Ready to Meet Residents | Farmington
Survey will seek feedback on potential new Farmington recreation facility
The return to Farmington Town Hall can be compared to a homecoming for Kellee Omlid, the town’s new director of parks and recreation.
The 13-year former Farmington recreation specialist said she was encouraged to apply for the job after former parks manager Randy Distad decided to retire in April after 18 years at the helm of the department.
Before returning to Minnesota, Omlid, 46, worked as a recreation superintendent in Ames, Iowa, for seven and a half years, where she oversaw programs and facilities.
“They had a much bigger program with an indoor pool and an outdoor aquatic program and an indoor hockey rink, a community center and an auditorium and a nine-hole golf course,” she said.
Omlid said she was fortunate to have been mentored by Farmington’s only two former park managers, Jim Bell and Distad.
“I left thinking, I hope I get the opportunity to come back, but I didn’t think it would be so soon because Randy is a young man,” said Omlid.
She said Distad emailed her when he decided to retire to let her know he thought she would be perfect for the job.
She credits Distad for her own career development, praising his qualities as a professional leader and his personal, down-to-earth and patient demeanor. She said Distad has the ability to build consensus and has had a huge impact on the community by creating parks across the city that have more than doubled in size over the past 15 years.
“Randy has been fantastic in involving us in the processes, and I will continue with the staff,” she said.
She said she also gathered wisdom from Bell, who hired her. She worked under his direction for two years before he retired.
She said she had recently asked Bell for advice and suggested that she visit the parks regularly to meet with residents and that she should get involved in the community.
In addition to getting to know the town staff, she attended the Farmington Dew Days meetings, as plans are underway for a celebration on Saturday, September 18.
Looking back, Omlid said she needed to leave town and gain experience and develop leadership skills from another parks department in town.
She is delighted to meet the residents and get their feedback on what they want to see in the parks. She said the city’s parks could offer more diversification and amenities like a pickleball court, Frisbee golf course, bocce ball, a smaller soccer field, a special needs park, ski runs. mountain bike or park with ninja and outdoor adventure courses.
Omlid recently met a young resident who is passionate about skateboarding and who would like to see a skate park.
City council has agreed to interview residents in late 2021 or early 2022 about a potential new recreational facility, possibly at the Jim Bell Park and Preserve.
“We want to ask the community what they want and what they are willing to spend,” Omlid said.
Omlid thinks residents could back a bond referendum to fund the facility, as Farmington is filled with young families. A referendum on 2016 park bonds failed.
“We are a growing community and we need these facilities and amenities to continue to grow and to get people to move into the community because of green spaces, parks and recreation because now the residents take those dollars out of town for recreation. and eat out, ”Omlid said.
A potential new recreation facility could spark tourism if it allowed for competitive indoor games and tournaments, she explained.
A shining result of the global pandemic is the need to protect public health in the workplace, Omlid said.
Today, more of them are employed in a home office, Omlid said, and can essentially choose where they want to reside. This could be an opportunity for Farmington to attract new residents keen to leave the busier towns. Future residents may relocate due to the city’s quality of life, schools and potential recreational facilities.
The future of Farmington Parks will be growth and advancement, whatever the decisions of the voters.
“Farmington is a developing community, and I will have the opportunity to collaborate and work with the staff to build new, fun parks like the one we are sitting in today,” she said, voicing at Prairie Pines Park located off 223rd Street, east. side of town.
Omlid said she was happy to return to work at Farmington Town Hall and live near her family in Minnesota.
His first job at age 14 in Williston, North Dakota was coaching floor hockey, recording scores in basketball games, and working on baseball fields and a golf course. during the warmer months. She had no idea that this first job in parks and recreation would lead her on the career path she had chosen.
“My mom always said that’s what you were supposed to do, and obviously I was,” Omlid said.
In his spare time, Omlid enjoys cycling the park trails and gravel biking east of town, near lush farmland, away from traffic.
Wishing to create new collaborations and partnerships, Omlid invites residents to contact her at [email protected]
“I’m all ears if people have any questions or comments, we want to bring new programming to the area.”