Christina Underhill is Englewood’s new director of Parks, Recreation and Library, stepping into the role formerly held by Dorothy Hargrove, who was named deputy city manager in September. Underhill …
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Christina Underhill is Englewood’s new director of Parks, Recreation and Library, stepping into the role formerly held by Dorothy Hargrove, who was named deputy city manager in September.
Underhill brings over 20 years of experience of working in parks and recreation. Her most recent previous position was assistant director of Parks, Recreation and Libraries for Avondale, Arizona.
In her new position, Underhill will be responsible for the operations of the Englewood Recreation Center, Malley Snior Recreation Center, Englewood Public Library, Pirates Cove Water Park, Broken Tee Golf Course and the parks division.
Underhill, who started her new job with Englewood on Jan. 21, has a Master of Science degree in recreation administration that she earned from Arizona State University.
She fielded questions from the Englewood Herald about her new job, her goals for Englewood and more.
Why did you want to come to Englewood and take this job?
I did a lot of research prior to applying for the director position in Englewood to make sure it would be the right fit personally and professionally. I found the programs, facilities and services Englewood Parks, Recreation and Library offered were very robust. Englewood has a rich, long-going history related to quality of life, programming and services, and it is exciting to know that the citizens continue to make it a top priority.
What goals do you have for the department?
My number one goal is to ensure the department continues to offer quality of programs, facilities and services to Englewood residents.
Recently, the department updated (its) Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The plan highlights improvements to parks, services and facilities. There are infrastructure improvements needed and currently not enough funding to complete all of the improvements. My goal would be to find ways to stretch and be creative with the funds we have to ensure we can keep the parks and facilities inviting and attractive to the community.
How can parks and recreation opportunities benefit the community?
It all comes down to quality of life! Getting outdoors, into the parks, golf course, recreation center, on the trails around the city is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. From my experience, and there are plenty of studies out there that show, being active and outdoors helps reduce daily stresses from work and life. As a public agency, we can provide just that!
How did you first become interested in parks and recreation?
My first job was coaching T-ball at 15 years old. I continued to work part-time jobs while in high school in the parks and recreation field. When it was time to go to college, I discovered there were degree opportunities that could keep me in the field of parks and recreation. From there, I managed to find full-time work in the field, and the rest is history.
What are your thoughts on Englewood’s current parks, recreation and library system?
We have very talented and committed staff in Englewood. Many of our parks, recreation and library employees have been working for the city for well over 15 years. That to me shows commitment, and it is evident they work for the residents, and they believe the programs they are offering are truly improving the quality of life for the community. As I stated earlier, Englewood has a strong parks, recreation and library system in place! Englewood residents and staff should be proud of their city as they have many great amenities that many other agencies dream about having.
This interview was edited for clarity.
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