Danny Kapales was appointed to the position of Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Jonesboro on Wednesday.
Kapales, who has served as interim director since the Feb. 12 resignation of Wixson Huffstetler, has worked in the parks department 16 years – 13 as a fulltime employee – and served as assistant parks director the past five years.
He will take over a department with upward of 130 employees, overseeing 20 parks, four recreation centers, and athletic programs that serve thousands of Jonesboro youth.
Kapales was selected after interviews with City of Jonesboro leaders and a panel of civic leaders, along with three other finalists. Seven of more than 50 applicants were interviewed. Perrin said the department will not skip a beat under his direction.
“Danny has proven himself as a hard-working, sincere employee and has a great grasp on what he sees for the future of Jonesboro’s quality of life through our parks and recreation,” Mayor Harold Perrin said. “We had some incredibly strong candidates, and I thank them sincerely because we had at least four people who made viable presentations.”
Perrin also thanked the civic leaders who helped interview four of the leading finalists.
“They took time out of their busy schedules to spend a day meeting the candidates, and helping identify the needs of the city’s parks and recreation,” Perrin said. “I am very appreciative for their participation.”
Kapales said job No. 1 on his watch is “to complete the projects we’ve started.
“We have multiple trails and bikeways that need to be completed, and we need to ensure that we are a connected city, and mobility is one of our priorities,” he said. “We also need to look at open spaces throughout the city to create more parks for residents in areas where they are needed.”
Kapales has served as Youth Sports Coordinator, developing a 1,000-child program into one that now serves more than 10,000 and is a blueprint for many others around Arkansas. He has managed all aspect of the park’s budget, developed a playground safety and inspection program and handled training of employees.