Ruffled feelings between the Nashville City Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission were apparently smoothed over, last Tuesday night, when the council unanimously approved the commission’s recommendation to fill the vacant parks and recreation director.
After a 46-minute executive session, the council approved the nomination of Mark Dale, formerly the recreation director at the park, to the role of department head of the park. The vote was 9-0, with one alderman, Matt Smith, leaving the room before the vote was taken.
The council and the park commission had been at odds over the council’s earlier exclusion from the interview process by the commission, and at a subsequent council meeting some council members even questioned whether the city needed a parks and recreation commission.
Dale, who is the son of the city’s financial officer, Jimmy Dale, was present for the meeting, as was another of the job applicants, District Court Clerk Laurie Westfall.
Mayor Billy Ray Jones told the council that the commission did an ‘exemplary’ job taking applications for the position. “We need a park commission.”
Mark Dale will be paid $40,000 per year but will not have a vehicle allowance of $7,000 as did his predecessor.
In other action, the council voted to appropriate $2,500 to the Area Agency on Aging to help continue services at the Senior Adult Center. The appropriation matches the amount given by Howard County.
Mayor Jones asked council members Monica Clark, Carol Mitchell, James Parker and Nick Davis to serve on a committee to interview applicants for the job of city finance officer. The current holder of the position, Jimmy Dale, gave his resignation last month and said he would serve through Dec. 31 so that the council could find a replacement and he would have time to train them.
Present at the regular monthly meeting for October were Mayor Jones, City Clerk Mary Woodruff, City Attorney Bryan Chesshir, Police Chief Dale Pierce, Public Works Director Larry Dunaway; aldermen Matt Smith, Joe Hoen, Donna Harwell, Nick Davis, Monica Clark, Vivian Wright, James Parker, Carol Mitchell, Andy Anderson and Mike Milum.
By Terrica Hendrix
A Nashville native has been named director of the Nashville City Park.
Mark Dale, 41, was approved by the Nashville City Council Oct. 25.
Dale began working at the city park after “working for myself doing paint and building maintenance for several years,” he said. “Prior to that, I managed a retail furniture store for Ivan Smith Furniture for 11 years. I’m an honorably discharged Air Force veteran.” He served for four years active, followed by two more years in the Arkansas Air National Guard. “I’m very proud of my time served.”
Dale, a 1993 Nashville a High School graduate, is a Hempstead County Sheriff reserve deputy, a volunteer fireman with the Bingen Fire Department, and is also the constable for his township.
He is married to his high school sweetheart, Shawn, who is his longtime “friend, classmate, and my heart and soul. We have four children; Camille, Slade, Abby and Sophie.”
Dale explained his involvement at the park, saying he is there because “I believe the park serves a larger purpose than just myself. I see it as a way I can also serve my community. Many people have come before me and put in countless hours of paid and unpaid hours to get the park to where it is today.
“When I was a kid in the early ’80s, I remember the men that were working fields after games as volunteers. I remember the people that saw the large expansions we have today, with our stage area, our soccer fields, the baseball and softball fields. I still see the adults that put in the time to come out and coach and dedicate their time to our youth, and I will do my best to honor the work of the people who were ahead of me,” Dale said.
“I want to thank the park commission for their vote of confidence in recommending me to the city council, and to the city council for approving the hire. I know I had lots of people go to bat for me over the past month, [and] I cannot express my gratitude enough for that.”
Dale is the son of Jimmy and Rose Dale of Nashville.