Editor’s note: The Purcell Register has introduced a feature in which civic leaders and others will answer five questions. The following were answered by Purcell Parks & Recreation Director John Blue.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: I really enjoy helping to develop our parks and city into something that our community can really enjoy and be proud of. I love it when an idea for a project is talked about and people get excited, and that momentum turns into something new in the parks. In the past few years we have added the swimming beach, the disc golf course, revamped the lake trail and built basketball courts.
Watching people of all ages enjoying what we have to offer is a great. I get an added kick with projects that are low maintenance, fiscally responsible, and give us a long return on investment. Purcell has a ton of potential and it’s so rewarding every time I can help show someone that.
Q: Five years ago did you see yourself working as Parks & Recreation director for Purcell?
A: Not at all, not even in the slightest. In 2015 I was running my shop working crazy hours trying to fix computers and electronics for my customers. Gardening and nature have been hobbies of mine, so a community garden was an idea that I thought was something to think about.
In 2016, I had started to suggest the idea of a park board like my grandma had been on to help promote different projects in the community. By the end of the year we had created the park board. By the end of 2017, I had closed my computer business and was a member of the parks board and working for the parks department.
I still have to laugh when I get asked how I went from computer repair to working on the parks.
Q: Which recreational opportunity at Purcell Lake are you most excited about?
A: We have so many things going on right now that it’s impossible to pick just one! We are working to add more trails to go around the entire lake with a bridge so people don’t have to walk through the spillway. We are working to add new docks and ramp to the north side of the lake for our fishermen and kayakers. The new playground is an awesome project that we are doing that will be a huge deal for the community kids! We are planning a big disc golf tournament for this coming July. Purcell Lake is a gold mine of recreational potential.
Q: Canada geese - some folks love them and some folks don’t. Are you a fan?
A: Ah yes, the geese. You can’t mention the lake without someone asking about the geese. I’m a big fan of the outdoors and nature. We have added wildlife and pollinator habitats all around the lake to help us save time and money on maintenance while adding natural beauty back to the lake.
Adding these habitats creates feeding and breeding grounds for all sorts of insects and wildlife that to me are essential to life cycles on the planet. Monarch butterflies migrate across the entire continent every year, and a lot of people think it’s astounding. The Canada Geese migrate, but many locals don’t appreciate their migration because of what they leave behind. They can be quite the headache and I’m not the biggest fan.
However, I do appreciate the larger picture of what they are part of, so I have learned to appreciate them and their fertilizer distribution.
Q: Where do you go to relax and what do you do there?
A: I’m really bad at relaxing and not researching for work. Normally I just like to stay home and work in my yard and garden or play PC games. My favorite trips are taking my wife Katie to large cities (OKC, Little Rock, Grapevine) and visiting their downtown areas to eat way too much food and walking around exploring. There are so many cool ideas that these big cities have that can be scaled down and brought back home. Like I said, I’m really bad at relaxing.
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