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Si View Park and pool welcomes new director

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NORTH BEND - The Si View Community Center and pool celebrated its first full year under the control of elected commissioners earlier this month, and also welcomed a new director.

As the new director, Jessi Richardson will be overseeing management contracts and helping devise a six-year master plan, among other duties.

Richardson comes to the district from Tukwila, where she served as a youth and facilities coordinator for the city's parks and recreation department. Part of her duties in Tukwila included overseeing the community center. Prior to her work in Tukwila, Richardson worked for the city of SeaTac in its summer-camp program.

"Jessi not only comes with strong experience in facilities and program management, she brings a lot of energy and vision to the park district," said Kevin Haggerty, chair of the Si View Metropolitan Park District, the governing body of Si View.

Richardson replaces Don Williams, the former interim director who played an instrumental role in the selection of a management system after the facility was turned over to the park district from King County. The county had intended to mothball the facility due to budget constraints until North Bend voters approved the formation of a Metropolitan Park District, the commissioners of which can raise the property tax levy rate to fund operation of Si View.

"Both individuals [Williams and Richardson] are highly professional, very knowledgeable and great assets to the district," said commissioner Gardiner Vinnedge.

It was that community spirit to save the Valley staple that drew Richardson to the job.

"What the community did to get this district created is incredible," she said.

It's been a "hectic, but good" first few weeks on the job, Richardson said.

Her first order of business likely will be helping devise a six-year operating plan for the aging facility, which already was helped with the hard work of the commissioners and Williams. Also, she will be acting as an intermediary between the commissioners and the contracted management groups, which include Redmond-based Friends of Youth, Snoqualmie Youth HUB and Northwest Centers.

"A lot of work has been done in the last year," said Richardson.

Although some recreation centers tend to become static after a time, Richardson said with Si View's commissioners, she's confident the community center will continue to push forward in a direction that will serve the public in the best possible way.

"The group of commissioners is very creative, the way they think out of the box," said Richardson.

Richardson, who holds a bachelor's degree from Western Washington University and a master's from Seattle University, said parks and recreation is appealing because it is different every day and allows her to interact with numerous people.

"Parks and recreation is such a positive field," said Richardson. "It's a community builder."

When Richardson is not at Si View she enjoys spending time with her husband of four years, Monte, and playing soccer.

Travis Peterson can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at travis.peterson@valleyrecord.com.

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