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New city rec chief will have full plate

With the opening of the new recreation center, Jim Sheets, Seminole's new recreation director, will have plenty to do when he starts work next month.

By MONIQUE FIELDS

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 26, 2000


SEMINOLE -- When Jim Sheets, a former Largo recreation center manager, becomes Seminole's new recreation director next month, his schedule will be full.

He will oversee the completion of a $6.1-million recreation center, develop the center's programs and try to create a team effort among its staff.

"We need somebody who can actually get in and be involved in the programs, and that was something that Jim did in his past employment," said Harry Kyne, director of administration.

Tracy Jones, the former recreation director, helped the city revamp its recreational offerings and embark on its largest municipal building project, but she resigned her position in June to spend more time with her family.

Sheets, 39, says he is ready to step up from serving as assistant parks and recreation director for Coral Gables, where he has worked for about a year.

"We're looking to expand recreational opportunities not only for seniors but for our young people," he said.

Before his current employment, he worked for more than three years as a recreation program manager at the Highland Complex in Largo. While in Largo, he served as a district director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association. He also has about 12 years of experience managing golf and country clubs.

"He's ready to take a leadership role, and I'm sure he'll do a fine job for Seminole," said Cathy Santa, director of recreation and parks in Largo. "He's high-energy, definitely an "A' personality."

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Sheets is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in education in 1992.

He will take his new post on Aug. 7 and will receive an annual salary of $42,395, about $5,900 more than the $36,447 Jones was paid. He received a bump in pay because he has 15 years of experience and will be responsible for a much larger center, officials said. Jones also was expecting a raise and may have received another salary increase after the new center opened, Kyne said.

Sheets wants to return to Pinellas County to be closer to friends and his recreational resources.

Describing himself as an "energetic and motivated individual," Sheets plans to develop programs that will prepare the city's youth for league sports and create fitness and wellness programs for adults. He also wants to develop a team spirit among the center's staff and listen to residents about their program needs.

"Without them, there is no program," he said. "I very much look forward to meeting our users and the folks of Seminole, and welcome any and all conversations with them."

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