Danny Kapales has been named the new city parks and recreation director for the city of Jonesboro. Kapales, who has served as interim director since the Feb. 12 resignation of Wixson Huffstetler, has worked in the parks department 16 years.
He spent 13 of those years as a full-time employee and served as assistant parks director the past five years. He will take over a department with about 130 employees, overseeing 20 parks, four recreation centers, and athletic programs that serve thousands of Jonesboro youth, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said.
Kapales was selected after interviews with City of Jonesboro leaders and a panel of civic leaders, along with three other finalists, according to the city. More than 50 applied and seven were interviewed. Perrin said he expects a smooth transition.
“Danny has proven himself as a hard-working, sincere employee and has a great grasp on what he sees for the future of Jonesboro’s quality of life through our parks and recreation,” Perrin said. “We had some incredibly strong candidates, and I thank them sincerely because we had at least four people who made viable presentations.”
The completion of several ongoing projects is his top priority, Kapales said.
“We have multiple trails and bikeways that need to be completed, and we need to ensure that we are a connected city, and mobility is one of our priorities,” he said. “We also need to look at open spaces throughout the city to create more parks for residents in areas where they are needed.”
Kapales has served as Youth Sports Coordinator, developing a 1,000 child program into one that now serves more than 10,000 and is a blueprint for many others in Arkansas. He has managed all aspect of the park’s budget, developed a playground safety and inspection program and handled training of employees.