Doug Gaynor, director of Evanston’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, has announced that he will retire at the end of August — 16 years after he became head of the department..
During those years, his department had grown to include the Facilities Management Division and Community Services, which includes the Youth and Youth Adult Division, Senior Services Division and management of the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market.
The Levy Senior Center in James Park and the Clark Street Beach office were built during Gaynor’s tenure and the accessible “Noah’s Playground for Everyone” was created in Lawson Park.
James Park, Evanston’s largest park, was redeveloped from bottom (underground sprinkler system) to top (field lighting). The lakefront also received an extensive renovation and new recreation programs were added, such as boat rentals and kayak fishing trips.
Under Gaynor’s leadership, the department’s Forestry Division implemented an inoculation program to protect Evanston’s remaining American elm trees.
“Doug has left his mark on Evanston through improved facilities that will serve the community well into the future,” City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said. “In addition, he assembled a staff of talented men and women who provide outstanding service to the residents of Evanston, young and old, every day. The dedicated team of professionals assembled by Doug will be his greatest legacy in our community.”