Parks and rec programming gets a boost

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 11, 2013


WEST BLOOMFIELD — With about one month in, Edward “Ted” Davis has high hopes for the future of West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation as its new recreation superintendent.

The 39-year-old Berkley resident said he plans to make those hopes a reality after taking the helm May 6.

“I’m happy to be here, and I’m excited about being in West Bloomfield for a long time,” Davis told the Beacon recently. “My goals for my new role is first, simply learning everything that West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation does, and then try to make subtle changes, especially in the first year.

“One of the big tasks I’ve been assigned is defining what type of programming we would like to have in the community, and that is always going to involve resident input and talking to different groups.”

Davis, who said he would also like to see more collaboration with the West Bloomfield School District, hails from Southfield as the city’s recreation superintendent.

He said his former position — which ended May 3 — mirrors his West Bloomfield position.

“Obviously, Southfield and West Bloomfield are two very different communities (with) similar departments,” he said. “Actually, West Bloomfield — in my mind — is the envy of everyone, with the amazing parks that we have here (and) facilities.”

According to a press release, Davis has a number of years of experience in managing facilities and pool operations, and overseeing community recreation programs.

Davis is also a certified parks and recreation professional, and carries a number of aquatic certifications.

His responsibilities include supervision of all recreation staff and oversight of programs, classes and special events offered by the commission — a seven-member elected board. His job is to also make sure that the commission meets West Bloomfield’s recreation needs through planning and analysis of ongoing programming.

“I am going to be running the recreation portion of Parks and Recreation,” he said. “I’ll be overseeing that, so whether it is special events, transportation, seniors, youth, adult programming and the Family Aquatic Center.”

Parks and Recreation Director Daniel Navarre said a separate, four-member interview panel selected Davis from a pool of about 40 candidates narrowed down to five.

“He offered a lot of different recreation programs for a lot of different age groups when he was in Southfield, and he has a unique skill set,” Navarre said recently. “He’s got a lot of really great certifications and a lot of experience he can bring to the table.”

Navarre said that with Davis, residents should look for a “boost” in recreation program offerings “that will meet the needs of the community.”

Navarre said the panel members  — local and state-based parks and recreation professionals — chose Davis because he brings cost-effective recreation programs.

The last recreation superintendent, Sue Wells, left the position several years ago for an Oakland County Parks and Recreation superintendent position; she is currently the county’s manager of Parks and Recreation operations.

Navarre said the position — among others — was not filled immediately because of the economic downturn, which caused the department to lose tax revenue.

“My deputy director retired in February, and when he left, we made the decision not to fill the deputy director position, but (to fill) the superintendent (position),” Navarre said.

“So now, instead of me having a deputy director, I have recreation and parks superintendents that run the two sides of the operation on a daily basis, and they both report to me. We saved a fair amount of money on this move.”

The commission saved about $100,00 overall in the 2013 budget, with a major portion coming from not filling the deputy superintendent position.

Davis’ salary range starts is $68,044-$88,457.

Davis said he has a vision for what he wants to see with Parks and Recreation.

“Whether it is something as simple as a Sunday night or Sunday afternoon softball league co-ed — or whether it’s an obscure new aerobics class that Dr. Oz happens to pitch on his program — we are always looking for what the community wants and needs.”

For more information on West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation, go to