Hager named new chair of parks commission

Thursday, March 5, 2020

By Samantha Jones

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

After years under Bill Featherstone's leadership, the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Commission has a new chair.

The commission voted on Feb. 27 to name Ruth Hager chair and Cameron DeNoewer vice chair. Hager kicked off the election of officers by observing that commissioner Draxie Rogers and Featherstone weren't present, asking the commission if the vote should take place anyway. DeNoewer said that's exactly what happened at the commission's last meeting when the commission deferred the vote after a motion failed to appoint Scott Bardin as chair.

"It was my understanding that it was going to be revisited at this meeting. It's an agenda item," DeNoewer said. "It's in writing. It's what the public is expecting. Therefore, we should follow through with what we told the public we were going to do."

DeNoewer moved to name Hager chair and asked Hager if she'd accept the position. Hager said she's very busy but would happily step up as chair for a while.

"If it solves other problems we are having and gives us a fresh start, I think that's kind of a good thing," Hager said. "I'm a good person for a fresh start."

Hager said Featherstone would probably agree that the commission needs to make a measurable change.

"I'd be glad to do it. I will remind you that whoever the vice chair is needs to be ready to help me," Hager said.

The commission voted unanimously to appoint Hager to the position. Commissioner Dave Hartmann then moved to name DeNoewer vice chair and DeNoewer said he'd love to work closely with Hager.

"I believe you are a terrific asset to this commission and I value your history with the commission," DeNoewer said, "and all I can promise you as chair is that I will do my best to work with you, not break any policies, procedures or laws and follow through with things."

DeNoewer said the commission owes "so much" to the community.

"I think we have a lot of repair work to do and the only way we're going to do that is with some change," DeNoewer said. "It's time for us to step up and evolve and change."

The commission moved on to consider approval of the 2019 financials and the 2020 budget, with director Justin Huss saying those documents aren't ready yet.

"We've been given documents from Windle & Associates that are incomplete," Huss said. "We haven't communicated enough about all our dynamics. There's a cash flow that's not in there now and it makes a huge difference."

The commission agreed to defer the issue to its next meeting when more information is available.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at The Auditorium.

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