The second parks and recreation director in the city of Kodiak’s history is stepping down at the end of the month. Charlie Powers held the position for a little over a year and will be moving off island later this summer. Powers and his family have lived in Kodiak for more than 20 years and first came to the island as teachers in the village of Old Harbor.
“That was fun we were out there about seven years and taught school and owned a lodge and commercial fished and it’s where our boys were born and raised so Old Harbor is near and dear to our hearts. And then we moved off island actually for about five years, to the valley. And we missed Kodiak so much so we had to come out, so we came back in 2007 and rebounded with the island and it’s been wonderful.”
Before being hired as the city’s parks and rec director, Powers was the vice president of corporate affairs for Koniag, Inc. He said the company did a bit of downsizing and the timing worked out well for him to join the parks and rec department when long time director Ian Fulp retired.
Powers said some of his goals when he took the position were to keep the city’s outstanding projects on track and see many of them through completion. “We’ve got Baranof Park pretty much wrapped up, which is great. If you go by there on a day like today you’ll see almost 1,000 different people on the park on a day like today doing all kinds of things from skateboarding to all the stuff that happens out on the turf and in the basketball area. So we’ve got that buttoned up and it’s in use. We’ve got security cameras in place and security lighting – which was a concern early on. So that’s good. And tennis courts are getting improved so the tennis guys will be happy about that. Hopefully we’ll have a new skate park going in for the skaters. So Baranof will be a neat community asset.”
He said his staff has also been working on improvements at the city cemetery to make burials a little easier.
Overall, Powers said he feels fortunate to have held the position for the time that he did because it helped him realize how connected parks and rec is to the entire Kodiak community.
“At the teen center we do everything form infant toddler groups – so you have grandparents and parents and their little toddlers in there – to the teens that are there and then we’re tied very closely to the school district through a joint use agreement. We put on activities happening both with high school and junior high coming down to our facilities and our hosting events in their gyms and so forth. And then all the various community groups are amazing – the different volunteer groups that run either the Kodiak Football League or the Kodiak Little League or Hockey League or different things and working with them. And then adult recreation and then all the way to death with the burial at the cemetery. So those are really important things in people’s lives so it was kind of interesting just to kind of experience that role and it’s a very rewarding job.”
The decision to leave Kodiak was a hard one, but Powers said he and his family will be moving back to their home state of Wyoming to be closer to family. As for his replacement, he said the city is currently advertising his position and he has helped put together a transition plan for the department. Overall, he said he’s not too concerned about the department because he’s leaving behind very capable and qualified staff.
“I have a lot of confidence in the people we have. They do a good job of running things and I don’t expect that to diminish because they’ve done a phenomenal job with me at the helm and I have all the confidence in the world that they can just kind of carry on through that transition period when they find a replacement.”)
Powers said above all he will miss the Kodiak community and the great friendships he and his family have built over the last two decades.