Bill Schwind resigned from his position Monday as parks and recreation director to accept a similar position in the city of Glendale, Ariz., Payson Town Manager Fred Carpenter said.
"We will miss Bill," said Carpenter. "He's been here for 12 years. We wish him the best in his new job."
With the help of volunteers, community leaders and his own staff, Schwind, whose office overlooks Green Valley Lake, has helped reshape Payson's landscape.
"He's been exceptional at finding funding," said Parks Manager Nelson Beck. "You can't have somebody in a leadership role for a decade without feeling the pinch (when that person leaves)."
The town's main recreation area -- Rumsey Park, with its dog park and synthetic turf fields -- is undergoing a $750,000 facelift.
Beck said the interim rodeo grounds, the tripling of the town's sports programs, and townwide park improvements are just a few of Schwind's contributions to the Rim Country.
Dee Sams, 78, a Payson resident since the early 1970s, and her friend Irwin Zelgewicz, 83, walk the esplanade surrounding Green Valley Lake daily -- at least that's their goal.
"I enjoy watching the ducks," Zelgewicz said. "(The park) is well kept and it's enjoyable. The little bit of wildlife is enticing."
As Schwind prepares for Sept. 15, his last day with the parks department, Bob Smith, human resources manager, said the campaign to find a replacement ramps up.
A nationwide search begins Sept. 1. Smith said he hopes to have the position filled by the first of November.
The application process is comprehensive. Desirable applicants will possess a background in municipal recreation, a related degree, communication skills, social finesse and a vision.
After a first-round elimination, the search committee -- comprised of town administration and elected officials -- will choose 10 to 15 semifinalists.
"After that we'll send a questionnaire," Smith said. "They have to fill it out and that's how more information will be obtained."
The town will then invite five finalists to Payson.
The candidates will undergo assessments and interviews. Smith said it's all about experience, personality and knowledge.
"We want a quality person," Smith said. "The whole process is designed to gain specific information that is important for that position. We want to find a person who fits what we need."
For more information about applying for the parks and recreation director position, contact the parks department at (928) 474-5242 or download an application from the town Web site: www.ci.payson.az.us.