City welcomes new parks director
by The Press and Standard | October 4, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 3, 2018 at 9:38 am
Ryan McLeod isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet during his first week as Walterboro’s new parks director.
“I’m just trying to get my feet under me, figuring out how the city of Walterboro works versus my past experience with the city of Goose Creek,” McLeod said as his first week was winding down the afternoon of Sept. 28.
McLeod joins the city from his role as assistant superintendent of the Crowfield Golf Club in Goose Creek, a post he had held since 2010. He has worked at the golf course in a number of positions since 2007.
While working for Goose Creek, he served on that city’s Wellness Committee and Grievance Committee. He has been a member of Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association since 2009.
McLeod attained a bachelor of arts in criminal justice from Saint Anselin College in Manchester, N.H., and received a golf course management certification from the Ohio State University’s online campus on 2010.
He attended his first Tree Protection Committee meeting on Sept. 27, and the next day was out delivering the permits to cut down trees that the committee approved.
He had spent much of the first week observing, “finding my way,” McLeod said. Superintendent of Parks Riv Temple “has been very helpful.”
Maintaining the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary, the city’s five parks, the tennis center, the landscaped areas of the city’s two I-95 interchanges, the City Hall complex, the Little Library, the plantings on East Washington Street and assorted green spaces in the city is the primary focus of the Parks Department’s seven-person crew. The goal is to “make sure everything is good.”
The crew’s time in the parks, he added, includes regularly inspecting the playground equipment.
During one of those inspections, a crewmember found a piece of equipment needing a repair. Once found, the crewmember got the ball rolling on taking care of the problem.
The park crew is empowered to make those decisions, McLeod said. “We need to be proactive in those situations.
“From day one, I told them to bring me their ideas, bring me your thoughts on anything to make this better. I am a firm believer that if we empower the front line guys, those who have their eyes on the equipment every day, it makes us a better organization from top to bottom.”
One thing he wants to do is introduce more plantings, “more ornamentals throwing color,” to the city’s green spaces. “Give it the curb appeal that it deserves.”
McLeod said that, in his mind, attitude is as important as experience in the city’s Parks Department. He wants staff members “who take pride in what they do. We have that with this crew.”