Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content City parks director retiring

DANIEL CHACÓN Updated: April 22, 2010 at 12:00 am

Paul Butcher, director of Colorado Springs’ Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department, is retiring after 26 years with the city.

Butcher, 57, said Thursday that his last day with the city will be April 30.

He said he’s retiring because he and his wife want to spend time with their family, including four grandchildren.

“It’s just time, it’s a good time for me,” Butcher said before a press conference Thursday at Wilson Ranch Pool, where the city announced a partnership to keep it and two other city pools open.

In the past year, Butcher has overseen the dismantling of the parks department because of city budget cuts.

The city’s community centers were slated to be closed until City Council members agreed to dip into the city’s reserves to keep them open this year; the city also reached an agreement with Woodmen Valley Chapel to run one center. Trash cans have been removed from city parks, and parks could go brown this summer because money to water them has been slashed.

“I have had the privilege of working with in (sic) outstanding group of employees whose dedication is clearly evident,” Butcher said in letter to employees. “Times have been difficult these last few years but your resilience and dedication to your jobs as (sic) never waivered. I am proud of you and say that often.”

Mayor Lionel Rivera said Butcher is a “dedicated city employee who has done a wonderful job for the city.”

“His heart has always been in doing what’s best for the city,” he said. “But one thing about this organization that I learned is that there’s a lot of capable people ready to step up and take on another challenge, and that’s been the case in every instance when we’ve had somebody retire.

“Steve Cox is an example of that,” Rivera added, referring to the fire chief, who was appointed interim city manager following the resignation of Penelope Culbreth-Graft.

Butcher said he will continue to do community service and volunteer work and will remain in Colorado Springs.

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