WAKEFIELD — When the Recreation Commission meets Wednesday at the Americal Civic Center, members will officially welcome the department’s new full-time professional.
Dan McGrath was selected by Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio from a field of over 30 candidates applying to be the next Recreation director in Wakefield. McGrath will make about $50,000 a year. The last full-time Recreation director in town was Sean Timmons.
The Reading resident was most recently program coordinator and assistant director of the Arlington Recreation Department. He had been in that position since the start of 2008.
Before that, McGrath was recreation program coordinator for the renowned Reading Recreation Department, which Maio has said would be a nice model for Wakefield to follow.
According to his resume, McGrath had many responsibilities in Arlington, including: Creating new recreation programs; supervising all part-time staff and seasonal employees; supervising each season’s clinics and programs; assisting with oversight of revolving and enterprise budgets; developing a Community Guide, press releases, school flyers, Recreation website and other marketing tools; overseeing Arlington Youth Basketball — Travel and Youth Leagues; assisting with hiring and training all staff; building and maintaining relationships with all vendors and contractors; customer service; overseeing improvements to a playground; managing a gym as well as a scholarship program.
Maio said of McGrath, “He blew me away in his interview. I expect big things from him as he takes the Recreation Department to the next level.”
Maio has said he envisions the Recreation Department as a profit-maker like those in other communities are. The department will have a new emphasis on adult education, possibly as early as this fall. The old Community Education program run by the School Department had trouble making money and folded in 2012.
It will also fall to the next director of recreation to make the most of the town’s sparkling new athletic fields and the new Galvin Middle School.
Back in June, Maio said, “Adults should be able to use the facilities they paid for, that they own.”
He continued, “If we can model the programs after the ones in Reading or in Danvers or the one in Melrose, I thing we could turn a profit and one day utilize the surplus funds for maintenance and possible even to bring down user fees.”
The town may also lease some of its athletic facilities, now among the best in the area.
The Recreation Commission meets at 7 p.m. at the Americal Civic Center. Also on the agenda:
• Field and permit updates by Sam Rush
• Programs updates
• Vote on projects through town (Rich Stevens)
• Recreation Program presentation by Sam Rush
• Open discussion