New leader heads city community services SanTan Sun News

New leader heads city community services

New leader heads city community services
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By Kevin Reagan

Staff Writer

 

Chandler’s newest community services director is bringing several years of experience in the recreation industry to the city.

Andy Bass officially took over the city’s Community Services Department on July 29 after spending several years overseeing the parks department in Reno, Nevada. 

He said he’s excited to come to a city that has an appreciation for recreation and bring a fresh perspective to a department that manages several public services.

 Bass said he’s been eyeing a position like this for a while since Chandler has a good reputation for focusing on quality-of-life amenities.  

“You can have a wonderful community but if you don’t have things that people can go to and enjoy,” he said, “people won’t go to your community.”

Bass will be responsible for maintaining more than 60 parks, several recreation centers, the city’s four library branches and all the programming housed at these facilities. 

Bass started his last job in the throes of the Great Recession, when several cities began cutting funds to parks and recreation. 

Despite the monetary constraints, Bass said Reno found a way to finance a new aquatic center by collecting private donations from the community. 

Getting big projects off the ground can be a challenge, Bass said, but he thinks it’s vital for cities to build public spaces where everyone feels welcomed. 

Parks are one of the few places that don’t turn people away based on their class or income, he added.

“It’s the ultimate melting pot and there’s no place else in a community where that actually happens,” Bass said.

He’s observed what happens when a community doesn’t invest in recreation. Bass worked in Midland, Texas at a time when the city couldn’t afford community programs. The city started to splinter, he said, and didn’t start to unify until the parks department came back.

“I’ve seen how a very divided community can come together through programming, through public spaces,” Bass added.

Bass intended to attend medical school before discovering his love for community service. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology.

Bass is replacing Brenda Brown, who retired from the community services department earlier this year after 14 years of service with the city. Chandler City Manager Marsha Reed announced Bass’s appointment on July 10.

“Andy is passionate about providing programs and facilities that promote healthy lifestyles and strengthen relationships in the community,” Reed said in a press release. 

“His unique experiences and leadership in parks and recreation administration will help the department deliver results that benefit Chandler residents.”

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