Q&A with Concord Parks and Recreation Director David Gill

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 07-02-2023 6:00 PM

As summer kicks into full gear, Concord Parks and Recreation has started offering various activities for residents. From swimming pools to movie nights to sports camps, there are plenty of options to enjoy the summer months.

The Concord Monitor caught up with Parks and Rec director David Gill to discuss the summer offerings including a new splash pad at White Park.

Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity:

CM: What’s Parks and Rec going to be offering this summer?

David Gill: The Parks and Recreation Department is going to continue to offer our traditional summer camps and sports specialty camps for the youth. Obviously all the parks are open. Most of the parks and neighborhoods have either a basketball court or a playground nearby to play at.

We’re doing our best to open all six pools this summer. We have a new splash pad at White Park. The challenge with the pools continues to be hiring staff, and then having the staff be able to take the Red Cross lifeguarding certification and pass.

Just about all the athletic fields, baseball, and softball fields are used throughout the summer for tournaments. We have an adult softball league that uses our fields.

This summer, once again, we’re partnering with Red River Theatres, and we’ll have several outdoor movies in the park that are free for the residents. And then we’re also offering – thanks to a sponsorship from Concord Housing and Redevelopment – free swim lessons for Concord and Penacook youth.

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CM: Following up on the lifeguards, I feel like every summer every place is struggling to find them. How many do you need?

DG: The ideal number to have on payroll and go through the training is between 35 and 40. Having six community pools and the splash pad, we’re kind of unique in the nation for a community of this size to have that many swimming pools. We’ve had seven swimming pools in seven areas since 1937, 1938, so it’s a wonderful tradition that Concord has. But like everywhere, we’re doing our best to attract and train staff to get all the pools open.

CM: You mentioned the splash pad. I know that’s a point of excitement.

DG: This year, the White Park pool was on the docket to be fully renovated. The pool itself used to be only 2.5 feet deep, so the decision was to turn it into a splash pad. It’s the same footprint, same location in White Park. We’re using the same bath house and bathrooms.

CM: What else will you be offering that’s new this summer?

DG: Off the top of my head, that’s everything in a nutshell. We do adult tennis lessons. The parks have pickleball. We usually have pickleball clubs. This is the time for all the beginners to play together and all the skilled players to play together. We do that in the community center over the summer.

CM: Pickleball is a big deal. I assume you’ve seen a relatively large increase in participation?

DG: Huge. Pickleball has been around since the ‘60s and kind of arrived in Concord about eight years ago, so now we have four indoor courts at the community center. They’re multi-use, so we can use them for basketball and other activities. Then we have two courts lined in the Green Street Community Center, and in last year’s budget, we added six standalone pickleball courts up at Rolfe Park.

CM: Anything else folks should know about that Parks and Rec will be offering this summer?

DG: We have an active Facebook page. All our information is on our website. We do a summer concert series, and then we also have concerts around the neighborhoods. A lot of good options to keep people active and busy.

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