Scott ready to retire as Berryville parks director

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Joe Scott

Joe Scott says cities are often defined by their green spaces. After 11 years at the helm of Berryville’s Parks and Recreation department, he’s ready to retire to his own green space.

“It’s been wonderful to be a part of Berryville’s parks system,” Scott said. “What a great thing for a small town to have have these diverse and really nice parks. It’s pretty cool. And the community center is really the jewel of the whole thing. The idea that we have this for this town is very much a blessing.”

Scott, 66, will be stepping down on April 30, but said he’s very pleased with the state of the city’s green spaces, from the pocket parks to the ballfields, the Pension Mountain trail system and the Community Center.

“We have so many places here for physical activities,” Scott said, “but there are also plenty of places to sit and contemplate your toes or experience nature. It’s a wonderful place.”

Scott’s department maintains more than a dozen parks and recreational areas — a great thing for a city of Berryville’s size, he said — but it can be a bit of a challenge.

“That’s a double-edged sword,” Scott said. “I mean, that’s great to have these resources, but it’s a challenge to manage and maintain them. A lot of people don’t think about that.”

Scott didn’t hesitate to give the credit for that maintenance to Roy Robison, who manages the maintenance crews.

“There are several members of Roy’s staff that spend five months a year on a lawnmower,” said Scott, who spent time during an interview picking up trash outside the community center. “There’s a lot to the management and upkeep of [the city’s park system]. It’s a wonderful thing to have these resources and people just have to realize that it’s a lot to keep up.”

Scott also praised assistant director Renee Allison, who will be stepping up to the director’s position after Scott’s retirement.

“It’s been a lot of fun working with Scott,” said Allison, who has a long history with the city’s parks department, where she began working as lifeguard in 1999.

Her sister, Emma Hamilton, previously served in the same position as Scott, while her mother, Glenda Allison, still serves as the city’s lifeguard trainer. “I’m looking forward to taking over. We’ve got a good team and we’re ready to move forward.”

Scott said some of his best memories of his time with the parks department involve visiting the baseball complex anytime he needed a little emotional boost.

“I’d go out there and watch the little kids play, and when they’re running the bases, they’re not too concerned about turning for second,” Scott said. “They just keep running, and sooner or later, there’s eight or nine of them chasing each other all over like a Chinese dragon. That always made me smile.”

Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney said Scott will be missed.

“We hate to see him go,” McKinney said. “He’s done a good job for us as we wish him well. We’re happy to see him retire and get ready to enjoy a few things in life he hasn’t had time to do.”

A native of San Diego, Scott and his wife, Jamie Froelich, moved to northern Carroll County 17 years ago, buying a piece of property near Holiday Island. Scott said he plans to build a workshop and a studio, in addition to developing some walking trails on his property — work that until now, has been done primarily by his wife.

“Hopefully I can contribute more now,” said Scott, a former park ranger. “I’ve always had an interest in nature and outdoor spaces.”

As for the workspace and studio, he added, “I won’t say I’m an artist, but I do have a creative bent.”

Before any of that happens, Scott said, he plans to do a bit of traveling, heading west to visit with family. Scott and his wife have two sons, two granddaughters and “one grand-dog.”

In the meantime, Scott said he doesn’t expect a huge sendoff.

“I’d rather just sneak out the back door,” he said.

As it turns out, that’s a little unlikely. Allison said she and the community center staff have planned a sendoff party — complete with a pie bar — from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the community center banquet hall.

The public is invited to attend.

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