Parks and Recreation Director Marc Matsil turned in his resignation Thursday, and will end his five-year tenure at the end of the month.
The city announced that Brent Fischer, facilities maintenance supervisor with Parks and Rec, will be the next director.
“It was a really difficult decision because Juneau is such a wonderful community,” Matsil said.
Matsil said he and his wife have been traveling back to the New York and New Jersey area more frequently to visit their families and they wanted to move closer since their parents are aging. He also said he’s been separated from his immediate family since December because of his wife’s consulting job, which they expect to be extended.
“So we’ll be close to my parents and my 7-year-old twins will have the opportunity to spend a lot more time with cousins and grandparents,” he said. “We’re going to miss the Juneau community and the Juneau landscape. My wife has been consulting for the New York Stock Exchange, that’s most likely going to continue. I’ve been really privileged for having worked with such an extraordinary team at CBJ.”
Matsil doesn’t have a job lined up yet, but plans to continue his career in conservation.
Matsil said he’s proud of what he’s accomplished and been a part of during his tenure, including helping to raise critical grant funds for the Dimond Park Aquatic Center, increasing attendance at the arboretum, helping the Zach Gordon Youth Center get a facelift and increased programming via grants. Trails have also been expanded and updated through collaboration.
What Matsil is most proud of is the Project Playground.
“It opened with great fanfare and was supported largely by the community,” he said. “That will be probably one of my great life memories.”
He’s also spent a lot of time with working collaboratively to implement several new plans including oversight and Assembly adoption of the Juneau Non-Motorized transportation plan; a revision of Chapter 8 of the Parks & Recreation comprehensive plan; master plan for Savikko Park/Treadwell Mine Historical Trail; and master plan for Auke Wayside.
“We’ve made many lifelong friends here,” he said. “We’ve gotten an outpouring of thanks from members of the community. It’s just a wonderful community. Mayor Botelho and the Assembly over the years have just been very support of the parks. For that I’m very grateful.”
Fischer is excited to take on a new role after serving 17 years with the department — 15 years in his current position.
“They came to me and asked me if I would be interested in the position,” he said. “I‘ve been working with the city for over 17 years. I thought it was a good opportunity so I took them up on it. I love the employees. I’ve known almost everybody in the department. ... They’re a great team, they’re dedicated. I’m looking forward most in just performing a different role and being a part of this great team as a leader.”
Fischer said the department hasn’t updated it’s short-range and long-range goals yet, but one thing he’d like to do is focus on creating more of the “Come Out and Play” feeling. “Come Out and Play” is a national program in which the department has participated.
“I’m looking to increase that and make parks and rec a fun place to work and get the citizens of Juneau to come out and play,” he said. “With Dimond Park opening, I think it’s going to be a jewel of the Southeast.”
As the facilities maintenance supervisor, he works on maintaining parks and rec facilities, the police station, fire department and a few elements of Docks and Harbors.
In his first two years working with the city he also was the events supervisor at Centennial Hall.
“I’ll be leaving Douglas, which is sad,” Fischer said. “I love working in Douglas.”
Fischer said he already works with the building managers for parks and rec facilities so he believes the transition will be smooth.
“They’re all people I know and work with, so it’s an easy transition in that aspect for me,” he said. “It will be an easy transition for them. My e-mails have filled up real quick and am getting welcomed warmly and I appreciate that.”
Fischer invites the community to come out and play and hopes people are excited about the new aquatic center.
“We’ll have some time frames coming out,” he said. “We just want the community to have a great time. I’m a big kid at heart. I look at this slide and I just can’t wait until it starts operating. There’s a flume slide, drop slide, another one’s got all these twisty and turvy’s — it’s going to be a hoot.”
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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