For the first time in nearly a dozen years, the Tuscaloosa County Parks and Recreation Authority will be looking for a new CEO.
On Wednesday, Gary Minor announced that he would retire as executive director of PARA on December 31.
“Working as Executive Director of PARA has been the highlight of my life and career,” Minor said in a press release. “I love this organization and our community immensely. I am proud of our service and accomplishments during my tenure in this leadership role with PARA.”
Under Minor’s leadership, PARA was named the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association’s Agency of the Year in 2015 and 2020. During her tenure, Minor oversaw the construction of the Faucett Center, Tingle Center, Tuscaloosa Tennis Center and the McDonald Hughes Community Safe. Bedroom. All four facilities won ARPA’s Facility of the Year after opening.
Other projects installed during his tenure include Will May Dog Park, Mason’s Place All-Inclusive Playground, Harrison Taylor Splash Park, Custom Treehouse-themed play unit, ‘Harmon Park and the region’s largest space net and tube slide in Snow. Hinton Park.
Minor is only the third Executive Director PARA has had since its inception in 1969. He has been with PARA for a total of 18 years, beginning as Program Coordinator in 2004. He was Director of Recreation and then Superintendent of Recreation before to be named executive director of PARA in 2011, just before the devastating April 27 tornado that killed 53 people and left a 5.9-mile path of destruction in Tuscaloosa.
In the aftermath of the tornado, it focused all PARA resources, including personnel, equipment, and properties, toward tornado relief efforts and the Belk Center operated as the largest and oldest temporary shelter against storms in Alabama.
PARA also credits Minor’s leadership in bringing the T-Town Tree House to the Phelps Center grounds and Tuscaloosa Archery Park to the Faucett Center grounds. He also helped open public access to Hurricane Creek Park and develop the Van de Graaff Arboretum and Historic Bridge Park into natural parks.
Peggy Hogue, Chair of PARA’s Board of Directors, thanked Minor for her “outstanding” service to PARA.
“We are grateful that he remains in this role until December 31….He will be instrumental in the leadership transition,” Hogue said.
“I can’t think of anyone who deserves to be able to do a little more hiking, canoeing, camping and fishing than Gary. He leaves a tremendous legacy and will be sorely missed. We wish him and his family, the best.” she says.
PARA said information on an interim director and details on finding a permanent miner will be announced at a later date.
PARA has nearly 2,000 acres of green space, including 35 parks, landing stages, seven activity centers, an 18-hole golf course, tennis court, recreation and recreation for all age groups and special events, such as the West Alabama Christmas Parade.