Kirk Robinson, Park District Board Candidate
Candidate Questions posed by Quality Bainbridge
1) What interests inspired you to run for a position as a commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Board?
First, I believe it is important to serve the community in which you live, to try and make it a better place for all who live on the Island.
Given my interests, skills and experience, becoming a Park Commissioner seemed a logical way for me to serve Bainbridge Island. I have lived here for almost 30 years; my wife and I raised two wonderful daughters who took full advantage of what the Park District has to offer.
I have always been interested in the Parks and Recreation field, having worked in recreation programs while in college and for the Forest Service and Park Service in the summers. Using my skills and work experience (management in the public sector at the Environmental Protection Agency) I believe I have contributed significantly to making our Park District one of the best in the State for a community our size.
2) Describe your relevant previous experiences that prepare you for the board role?
I have served 14 years as a Park Commissioner. In that time:
The District has added and successfully integrated significant acreage to the district (City Open Space parcels, two former state parks, donations of park land by the land trust, a couple of private donations, and several acquisitions, including the new Sakai Park). And, I believe, all the parks are better maintained now than they were a decade ago.
The District has built over eight miles of new trails
The District has expanded its recreation program, particularly the Outdoors program.
The District managed its way through the Great Recession without significant impacts to staff and our programs.
Retired now, I worked 32 years for the Environmental Protection Agency. My work focused on managing grants, contracts, budgets, and accountability systems. These skills are a great fit for any Park Commissioner, whose responsibilities are focused on overseeing the operations of the District.
3) What skills, training. resources, and expertise will you bring to the Board?
Fourteen years of experience as a Park Commissioner provides knowledge of the Park District, its parks, facilities, programs, and resources, both financial and staff. As such I am aware and prepared to address the range of challenges the District faces.
I have many years of managing budget/finance operations, accountably systems and other “administrative management” functions in the public sector, which has prepared me to take the lead on the Board in regard to such matters.
4) What are the most important challenges/projects facing the Park and Recreation District in the next few years?
Sakai Park planning and development. The District is in the process of planning for the future development of Sakai Park. The community is actively involved, providing many suggestions on what facilities and activities should be placed in the new park. I look forward to working through these ideas and determining the best fit for the new park and what ideas can be accommodated elsewhere within the park system.
Park Infrastructure. The District has been in operation for over 50 years. Many of our facilities are almost that old or maybe even older. The District’s challenge is to identify and budget for needed upgrades in a timely manner.
User Demand on our Parks. Particularly for active recreation uses, the District is seeing a rise in proposals for new facilities in our parks, such as disc golf and mountain bike facilities. The challenge to the District is to find appropriate locations for these activities without infringing on existing uses in our active-use parks.