Troy Stowell, formerly the quality of life director for the City of Eaton Rapids, accepted a new position as the Parks and Recreation director for Eaton County. Stowell’s level of involvement in Eaton Rapids is practically immeasurable. His duties as quality of life director went above and beyond his job description as he did much of the hands on work alongside his copious administration tasks. Now as the county parks and rec director, Stowell plans to take what he’s learned at the city level to a larger platform.

Stowell has a degree from Central Michigan University with two concentrations. The first is commercial recreation, which covers resorts and professional sport leagues, and the second is in community recreation, which covers municipal recreation and park offerings. Stowell noted that he primarily falls into the latter of the two concentrations, partly by luck, and partly because of his internship experience with the City of Battle Creek.

“What I found in my first few years after my internship, still with Battle Creek at the time, is that municipal parks and recreation has more of a direct impact on the community.  You were the front line guy, and the back of the house guy at the same time.  You got a chance to see that impact in those that you worked with and for,” said Stowell.

In Eaton Rapids, Stowell said he was essentially a “one many department.” After working for the City of Eaton Rapids for about three and a half years, he saw many small daily struggles and victories, but ultimately loved working for the Island city and its residents.

“I worked to try to develop a true recreation program, and improve the park experience for residents and guests.  When the position vwith Eaton County opened up, I saw it as an opportunity to lead a larger department, provide opportunities on a larger scale, and to truly test myself professionally,” said Stowell.

Stowell started the new position with the county Monday, March 12. The parks and recreation community is tight knit, according to Stowell, and he knew the previous Eaton County director, Clay Summers. Along with working for the City of Eaton Rapids and the surrounding townshvips, Stowell spent time at the county level working on regional concepts, including Crandall Park.

The newest addition to the Eaton County Park network has Stowell intrigued. For him in the new position it’s a blank slate with many possibilities.

“With that though comes challenges on how to balance natural preservation with development, and how to add amenities in a timely manner that is consistent with the public’s wants and needs as well,” said Stowell.

Stowell seems up to the challenge. After successfully implementing and sustaining many projects, events, and amenities in Eaton Rapids. There won’t be too many radical changes right off the bat, according to Stowell, but he hopes to expand recreational offering in the summer. He’s pleased with the variety of offerings in Eaton County parks, and hopes to build on them and promote them to surrounding areas.

“My vision for the parks system is to create ‘Destination Parks,’ areas that are attractive and appeal to a wide variety of people, and is the public’s go-to place for their free time,” said Stowell.  I hope my role is in that development, whether it is through our parks or our recreation programming efforts to engage with the public and continue to prove that parks and recreation is an essential service for the communities we serve.”