Scottie Wirth of Vinton spoke to the Vinton Kiwanis Club sharing his experiences at the Vinton Parks & Rec. As he explained, if you aren't familiar with who he is, "Do you remember Wirth Jewelry that used to be downtown?" and for those of us who are Vinton natives over 50, you'll say, "Ah, yes, I know them!" Scottie is the grandson, but also the son of Mike and Heidi.
Wirth has been with the Vinton Parks and Rec Department for over three years now, working first in maintenance and now as the Assistant Director. He had originally attended the University of Iowa for outdoor recreation until the program was cut and he also attended Hawkey Tech. Then he returned to Vinton where the position opened up. That was perfect for Wirth.
He's also coached high school baseball for a while and now he is in charge of the youth programming and is still involved in the maintenance. He said working at VPRD makes you a jack of all trades.
Right now he's overseeing four different youth basketball leagues. Pickleball will also be taking off so he'll be helping with that.
Matt Boggess said that he was fortunate to bring Wirth on staff with his work ethic and skill set along with his experience. Boggess backed up and shared that Wirth had worked with the department in high school and through college, which helped him decide to change his major so that he could work in the same field.
Wirth said that he will be working with the new hire that will join the department. Boggess explained that the first year is a time of learning about what employees can do, and where they are best fitted. With Wirth he said it was nice because he didn't have to be reminded of where things were in town, he already knows all about Vinton.
Boggess answered questions about plans for the department. Having just met with an architect concerning the new facility. He said changes have had to be made. So plans are to renovate the old rec center, adding a gym to the side of the facility, and then remodel the inside of the rec center. He said the center is scaleable and there is room to build. They will reimagine the space and recreate it and do some cool things in the facility, Boggess said. The current facility is 3,300 square feet and had a 20-foot ceiling,
Hoping to relieve some of the lack of gym space in the school, he hopes to built on to the rec center and to kick off the capital campaign this spring and to be in the building by 2025. Plans are to have a full-sized gym with six baskets, 3 lane walking track, and a 50X100 turf multi-purpose area.
VPRD works with children as young as three through high school. Boggess said that the facilities host between 5 and 10,000 enrollments in programs a year including the rec center, pool, skate center and parks. Right now he said every program is capped and has a waiting list.
The flag football program over the last 8 years has gone from two teams and 20 children to over 130 in the program, and over 100 in the basketball program, not counting the Little Dunkers, they also have an enrichment program and other programs. To accomplish all of this, the department only employs five full-time employees and a part-time help in the summers.
When it came to the pool, that will be in the second phase and Boggess hopes to raise funds to build a new outdoor one. He said that with research he's found that indoor pools are a tax burden on communities our size.
Updating the group on the new park equipment he said that he hopes it works out to get it installed the last week of April and into May. He said he also has equipment for a fitness park on the south part of the school's land near the new development.
Boggess ended by saying, "We are a very unique town for our size in the state of Iowa. It's because we get so much support from this community. This community supports us...I can't ever imagine being in another place. This town makes it so easy. From a quality of life perspective, Vinton gets it."
You can go to www.vprdzone.com to enroll your kids in any of the activities that the department has to offer.