Parks director retires after 36 years

Michael Fobes succeeded Tammy Klunk as parks director. Klunk retired after 36 years with York County Parks & Recreation. She was the director for the last decade.

tammy mike direction sign

During her retirement celebration at Nixon Park, Klunk spoke to a room full of county parks employees as well as members of boards that work with the parks department. She commended these boards for their service to the county's parks system and gave special thanks to the employees who work to make the parks places worth visiting.

The county commissioners gifted Klunk a certificate of appreciation along with a bench to be named in her honor.

Fobes to take the reigns

Mr. Fobes has been working in a leadership role with the Parks since 1991, when Ms. Klunk hired him as facilities manager.

Mr. Fobes’ long history with the Parks department distinguished him as a leading candidate for parks director as the department continues to consider how to best serve the public.

York County Parks & Recreation continues to evolve with the changing uses of the parks and Mr. Fobes has been involved in effecting such changes. Ten years ago, the county couldn’t have predicted E-bikes, which are now allowed at some of the county’s 11 parks. Even mountain biking in the 1990s was thought to be a passing fad, Mr. Fobes admitted.

“Obviously, it’s become quite a popular thing to do in the parks system,” Mr. Fobes said. “You see the general public’s needs changing. Keeping up with what people want to do in the parks is a constant challenge.”

A dog park at John Rudy Park, an expanding Heritage Rail Trail and an electronic ticketing system for Christmas Magic are footnotes in the Parks’ more than 50-year history, which has allowed the department to adapt and stay relevant.

As he transitions into his new role, Mr. Fobes intends to complete three grants already underway. These grants will enable the county to create a bicycle path spanning Rocky Ridge Park, purchase land near Richard Nixon Park and complete a trail connecting Nixon to William H. Kain Park.

Mr. Fobes will oversee 29 full-time employees and many seasonal employees as director. The county's 11 parks span more than 4,500 acres.

Of those 11 parks, Klunk said she does not have a favorite. But at some point, she will have to decide where she wants her dedicated bench to be placed.

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