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New Snoqualmie parks director loves to see you smile

SNOQUALMIE - Al Frank believes a good parks and recreation department can make a lot of people smile.

As the new director of the Snoqualmie Parks Department, he hopes to get many chances to see lots of people smiling.

"I like to see people have fun," said Frank, who started last week.

Frank came to the decision to work in parks and recreation after spending a couple of years working underwater. After two years of college at Eastern Washington University (EWU), Frank joined the Navy and became a diver. He was stationed out of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, where he worked on submarines. While stationed in Hawaii, the always active Frank became involved in the parks and recreation activities on and near the base. When he left the Navy in 1980, he went back to EWU and studied recreation management. He got his first job in Sparks, Nev., where he was an assistant community center manager. He followed that with similar jobs in Vernal, Utah, and Seattle before talking a job as a recreation supervisor in Tukwila.

Frank's stint in Tukwila gave him some experience with a community center, something Snoqualmie has been trying to build for the past couple of years. While in Tukwila, Frank helped the city plan the construction of its $9.4-million community center that opened in 1997. The 49,000-square-foot facility, which was funded entirely by councilmanic bonds approved by the city, was not an easy facility to build. The city went through three feasibility studies to get to the final design, and planning went back prior to Frank's 1990 arrival at the city.

"It was something the community really wanted and they use it," he said. "A lot of people from out of town use it as well."

When Frank left in 2000, the center made $600,000 a year; short of the $1.2 million it cost to run but a lot more than the city originally thought the community center would bring in revenues.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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