ANDERSON — Stephon Blackwell, who has served in two executive roles with Mayor Kevin Smith’s administration over the past year, is now back to one.
Effective today, Blackwell will be Anderson’s Parks and Recreation Department superintendent, a role he has performed on an interim basis for the past year following former Superintendent Doug Zook’s move to the Department of Economic Development. Zook has since resigned his position.
Blackwell will continue to serve as general manager of the City of Anderson Transit System (C.A.T.S.) through mid-August, said city spokeswoman Charlee Turner.
In a tumultuous reorganization largely driven by changing budget priorities last year, the parks department laid off staff and moved to focus more on parks and less on recreation activities.Staff layoffs included longtime recreation Superintendent and City Councilman Rodney Chamberlain.
In the year since then, Blackwell’s leadership has resulted in positive changes at parks and facilities throughout the city, Smith said.
“He has enhanced the programs the Geater Center offers by partnering with organizations like the YMCA, which has allowed us to offer a lunch program to the youth this summer,” Smith said. “We’ve also seen Grandview Golf Course progress into a premier golf course again.”
Park Board President Darin Foltz echoed Smith’s comments, adding that the choice of Blackwell to fill the position was unanimous.
“We’re really excited to have him onboard in a full-time capacity,” Foltz said. “He’s demonstrated strong management skills and has been able to develop a good knowledge of our facilities and programs.”
“I am excited to fully focus on developing and improving the overall conditions of the park system,” Blackwell said in a news release. “Quality of life is very important to the citizens of Anderson as well as the people who visit our city.”
Blackwell is a graduate of Anderson University. Before joining the Smith administration in January 2012 as general manager of C.A.T.S., he was an investigator with the Madison County prosecutor’s office.
There was no word Wednesday about who will be named general manager at C.A.T.S. Zook is now working in a non-public job.