The Batavia Park Board this week selected the official replacement for the Batavia Parks Executive Director position.
Allison Niemela, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the , was named Executive Director at a special meeting Thursday night by the Park Board of Commissioners.
Niemela fills the vacancy left by Mike Clark, who took a position at the Palatine Park District in January. Over the past seven months, Niemela has served as interim executive director. Under her watch, she, along with the department heads, managed the day-to-day operations of the park district. This new appointment will be a smooth one for the district.
“The Board is really humbled by the fact that the community has provided so much input on what they want to see from their Park District,” said Pat Callahan, Batavia Park District Board President, “Residents see opportunities for improvement, and we believe Allison has the skill sets to implement that through our strategic master plan.”
Twenty nine applications were received, and the field was narrowed to five. After the final two interviews, the Board felt confident that Niemela was the right choice.
“The board has evaluated the District over the last seven months,” said Callahan, “And we believe in Allison. This is a great Park District, and it will only get better under her leadership.”
Niemela has been with the district since 2000 when she was hired as Batavia’s first Director of Marketing and Public Relations. She has put the district on the map at a state and national level through her marketing efforts, including the back-to-back years the district was selected as a national gold medal finalist, the highest honor a park district can achieve.
During her time with the Batavia Park District, Niemela was instrumental in developing intergovernmental agreements and collaborating on the development of a strategic master plan. She also spearheaded the community engagement efforts to determine the future of the Hall Quarry Beach.
For more than six years, Niemela has served on the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association’s Board of Directors. She is chair-elect of the association. Prior to working at the Batavia Park District, Niemela was marketing and communications supervisor at the Addison Park District. She is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and holds two bachelor’s degrees from Concordia University, River Forest and a certificate in sports and entertainment management from Columbia College, Chicago.
Niemela’s passion about the field of parks and recreation is evident, and she looks forward to leading the district she has served more than 12 years.
“I am honored to serve the district in this new capacity,” said Niemela, “I feel this is an opportunity to give back to the Park District that has given me so much. I look forward to serving the residents of Batavia as the Executive Director so I may learn, share and lend my professional talents.”
The appointment takes effect on September 1, and the Board will formally ratify the contract at the upcoming Board meeting on Tuesday, September 18.
The information on Niemela was courtesy of the Batavia Park District.