Warren Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman was hired by the city in 2004. He said he’s leaving Warren to continue his career with the city of St. Clair Shores.

Warren Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman was hired by the city in 2004. He said he’s leaving Warren to continue his career with the city of St. Clair Shores.

Photo by Brian Louwers

New St. Clair Shores parks and recreation director coming from Warren

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 30, 2018


ST. CLAIR SHORES — The parks and recreation director for the city of Warren for the past 14 years will take the helm of the St. Clair Shores Parks and Recreation Department this month.

Henry Bowman, a 1982 graduate of South Lake High School and a resident of St. Clair Shores, will be the new director of parks and recreation, following the retirement of Greg Esler. Bowman remained at his post in Warren until Dec. 1, and he will begin in St. Clair Shores around Dec. 10.

“St. Clair Shores is my hometown; I grew up in St. Clair Shores. I remember my summers, we’d ride our bikes trying to find a marina we could sneak into so we could go fishing,” Bowman said Nov. 21. “St. Clair Shores is a great place to grow up; it’s a great place to raise a family. I’m really looking forward to coming home.”

St. Clair Shores City Manager Mike Smith said that Bowman brought several events to Warren that the city did not have before and has done an “outstanding job” of building relationships with residents and businesses and getting corporate sponsorships for activities and events.

“I’m hoping he brings that same energy, as far as new ideas, different programing,” Smith said.

He said Warren has more advanced online registration for parks and recreation programs. Since both St. Clair Shores and Warren use the same software, Smith said that he’s hoping Bowman can improve St. Clair Shores’ online access as well.

“Having grown up in the Shores, living in the Shores, he’s going to be more in tune with the history and expectations of our residents. That will be really good, I think,” Smith said. “He’s an excellent communicator. He does a good job with communicating, not only with his staff, but with residents.

“I think he’ll make the transition, a quicker transition, and I think he’s going to be bringing things we already have and accentuating those things.”

The starting salary for the parks and recreation director is $95,000, and the benefits package brings the annual salary to around $130,000. Bowman will have a 401(k)-style retirement plan, not a pension, and Smith said he hopes to introduce him to the City Council at the Dec. 17 meeting.

“We had really, really great candidates,” Smith said. “It was really encouraging.”

He said that St. Clair Shores is an attractive place for a recreation director, as evidenced by the fact that Bowman is taking a pay cut to come work in the city.

“The toys that a parks director gets to play with here is second to none in the state of Michigan,” he said. “To get somebody with 14 years of experience directly as a director of parks and recreation ... managing a budget larger than ours — at the end of the day, Henry was the right fit.”

Bowman said that before working in Warren, he was the recreation director for the Children’s Home of Detroit, which closed about 10 years ago.

He said that when working in Warren, they always tried to improve every event.

“We took a lot of festivals and really pulled a parks and recreation feel into those festivals, which made them really good family events,” Bowman said.

He said he’s looking forward to “jumping in with both feet,” and getting to know the employees and residents of St. Clair Shores. It’s very apparent that everyone cares a lot about the beautiful city, he said.

“I’m not here to change the world on anybody. I’m here to provide support and, if I have an idea, we’ll try to utilize it,” he said. “I’m pretty easy going.

“I know St. Clair Shores, the residents ... are very involved in the programs and activities and we’re not going to change that at all.”

Bowman has two grown daughters who live in Warren. He said that his two favorite activities are fishing and golf.

“It’s kind of hard to catch anything in Warren,” he quipped.