Abilene City Manager Jane Foltz announced on Tuesday that following an exhaustive search with more than 50 applicants with five finalists interim Parks and Recreation Director Kellee Timbrook was named as the new director.
Timbrook has spent the last 15 years working for the department under Foltz as director. She spent 10 years as a specialist primarily working with after school programs and became the recreation supervisor five years ago.
“We are very fortunate to have someone who has been with the department for 15 years, first starting in programming as a recreational specialist and then moving to the recreation supervisor position five years ago,” Foltz said in an official city release. “I look forward to Kellee’s leadership as she works to shape the future of Parks and Recreation in the city of Abilene.”
Timbrook was raised in Kiowa and spent her early career working in the recreation and leisure fields in South Carolina and Scottsdale, Az. She received degrees from Cloud County Community College and Fort Hays State University before coming to Abilene.
“I am excited to get this opportunity,” Timbrook said. “Again, I didn’t grow up here, but Abilene is my home. I love raising my kids here. They are involved in the community and we are invested in this community. I want to continue the growth in the Parks and Rec department. We have great partnerships with the Abilene business community.”
Timbrook stated that she is grateful for the opportunity to serve as director as she has seen the department grow over the last 15 years and she wants it to continue to grow.
“I want to continue providing good programs,” she said. “I want to focus on making sure that we are hitting all age groups. I want to see new programs develop and I want to help update our facilities, especially at the sports complex.”
Timbrook said that Abilene offers so much as a community but there is more that can be done if the proper facilities were in place.
“I want to be able to bring tournaments to town,” she said. “I think in order to do that we need to enhance our facilities. I think we can get them here but our facilities need work. We must address restrooms, the aging of the facility and especially lighting.”
“We will follow the county guidelines as far as COVID-19 goes and then we will take recommendations from the Kansas Recreation and Parks Association,” she said when asked about plans for the fall and winter programs.
“We are going to continue as the fall and winter programs are happening,” she said. “We are working on the fall and winter program guide right now trying to get all the dates set,” she said. “We will schedule them as usual and then hope that we can have them.”
Timbrook talked about bringing adult sports back to Abilene but she said the main problem they had in the past was getting officials to come work the games. They have to be willing to officiate adult sports and be on the department payroll in order to get paid.
“I just look forward to fresh new things that we can bring to the department and happy to get it started,” she concluded.