OP parks hire first supt. of recreation

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The current executive director of the LaGrange Park District will start tomorrow as Oak Park's first superintendent of recreation, a position created by the park district this year.

Park District Director Gary Balling said this week that the hiring of Matthew Ellmann represents an important change in the management structure at the district.

The parks currently employ four recreation managers, who are responsible for running various park district programs, such as "adult leisure," and larger facilities. Additional employees manage the district's seven recreation centers.

As part of his duties, Ellmann will oversee recreation programming, and give individual managers more freedom to focus on "specialty areas," Balling said.

"He will help us coordinate all our efforts better, so there's less duplication," he said, adding that the new position will allow the district to better develop "market driven" programs.

Ellmann said on Friday that he was drawn to Oak Park by "skill and talent" he sees at the park district, as well as the village's history.

"It's a very people oriented community that's rich in diversity," he said. "I look forward to being a part of it."

Ellmann added that in his new role he's looking to take "a little burden off the people in charge."

Some of his future goals include bringing "creativity and team orientation" to the district, but right now he said he's focusing on learning about the community.

?#34;Katharine Grayson

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