City ushers in a new parks director

Along with his 30 years of experience in the field, Bremerton’s new Parks Director Ken Mickelsen’s people skills are what really clinched him the job, according to Mayor Cary Bozeman.

He will fill the shoes of longtime director Jim Spencer, who oversaw the city’s parks and athletic programs, and retired earlier this year.

“He is a people person,” said Bozeman, about the Mickelsen.

Mickelsen completed a one year stint as Maple Valley parks director before applying for the job at Bremerton. Previously he served as Parks and Recreation Director of Ashland, Ore. for 24 years.

While in Ashland, Mickelsen led the rebuilding of Lithia Park, a historic area destroyed by floods in 1997. He also developed a partnership with the Ashland School District and Southern Oregon University to create seven multipurpose athletic fields in the area.

Previous to Ashland Mickelsen was parks director for Watertown, S.D. and was recreation director for Brookings, S.D.

Mickelsen received his bachelor of arts in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1987 and served in the Air Force.

He was selected from 30 applicants for the Bremerton position.

Mickelsen said he has had a lot of experience raising money for parks projects, from ice arenas to skate parks to walking trails.

He plans to make the 60 mile move from his Maple Valley home to Kitsap County as soon as he sells his house.

“I’ve been impressed with the facilities I have seen,” he said. “The city seems to have an excellent staff.”

Mickelsen says he brings a genuine enthusiasm for the job, a “real commitment to what a parks department means to a city,” he said.

Although the Mayor has approved Mickelsen as the new director, taking over for interim director Tom Cressman, the city council will officially hire him and decide on a salary, estimated between $75,000 and $91,000.

Salary is decided on experience in the field and its relation to the Bremerton Parks and Recreation job description.

“My first day is Aug. 2,” Mickelsen said.

The City Council should officially approve his contract within the next two weeks.

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