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West Bloomfield

Parks deputy director to seek recreation in retirement

February 8, 2013


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Dave Burley will soon have plenty of time to experience recreation after he retires from his deputy director position with the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission at the end of the month.

Burley, 58, said his last official day is Feb. 28, and after almost 25 years of parks and recreation service, he is retiring because it feels like the right time, he said.

He plans to move to Gaylord, where he hopes to pursue some of his interests — fishing, camping and restoring antique tractors — though nothing is concrete yet.

“I’ve got a lot of hobbies,” he said. “Most of my time will be spent working on hobbies, and I may enter the job market again. We’ll see.”

As deputy director, Burley oversees the parks division, which handles park facilities and grounds. He said he also oversees the recreation division, the transportation division, and part of the accounting and administration division.

He said he initially was hired to run the parks maintenance division, and over the years, he took on more and more responsibilities. He was promoted to deputy director in 1995 after former Parks Director Joey Spano left her position.

While Burley couldn’t name one thing for his proudest accomplishment, he said he is glad to see the commission expand its services to the community. He said the amount of property the commission owns grew from almost 60 acres to almost 600 acres during his tenure.

Meanwhile, improvements have helped develop places like the Family Aquatic Center, the Karner and Schulak farms, the West Bloomfield Trail and Marshbank Park, he said.

“The community has changed quite a bit,” he said. “There’s been a lot of growth. A lot of new businesses and residential subdivisions have been built, which has made it more important for the parks division to preserve more land.”

Though Burley is leaving, he said residents will soon have several things to anticipate at the parks.

This past fall, the commission completed the rail extension of the West Bloomfield Trail, which means that nearly eight miles of non-motorized trail runs through the township, he said. Burley also said the commission’s infrastructure could see improvements in energy efficiency.

“Hopefully, the residents appreciate the work the commission does, and hopefully we make an impact on their lives,” he said.

Parks Director Dan Navarre said the commission is working on a reorganization plan that could produce Burley’s successor, but that had not been finalized at press time.

Navarre said he has worked with Burley for 14 years and added that his presence will be missed.

“He’s the most knowledgeable fellow working there with the most historical information,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I’ve accomplished without him helping me.”

Learn more about the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission at or by calling (248) 451-1900.

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