Don Howell has been named director of Troup County Parks and Recreation.
Assistant director since 2000, Howell has worked with Parks and Recreation in Troup County for 36 years.
“Don is the man for the job,” said Troup County Manager Tod Tentler, who stepped down from his post as Parks and Recreation director in July to serve as county manager. “Don is a dedicated and very organized individual who will bring a great presence and continue the quality programming and facilities that are already in place at the Troup County Parks and Recreation department. I think we’re leaving the department in great shape and Don will continue to move Parks and Recreation forward in a positive way.”
Originally from Elberton, Howell earned his bachelor of arts degree in recreation from West Georgia College in Carrollton. While a college senior in the spring of 1976, he interned for Troup County Parks and Recreation. After graduation, he joined the department full time in August 1976 as maintenance supervisor. The following year, he was named area supervisor in Hogansville, the position he held until 1990 when he became assistant director for the entire department.
In 1996, Howell was hired as director of Hogansville Parks and Recreation, at the time a function of the City of Hogansville but later consolidated with Troup County Parks and Recreation in 2001. In 2000, Howell again was named assistant director of the countywide department.
With local parks and recreation for almost four decades, Howell has witnessed tremendous growth in the organization and recalls working closely with its first leaders.
“In the early days, George Harris was the director and Mike Daniel was working with Parks and Rec,” Howell said, reminiscing. “We were a small department. Harris and Daniel got everything off the ground to establish the various athletic programs and leagues and we’ve been fortunate through the years to be able to expand services and improve facilities.”
Howell recalled days past when individual neighborhood parks “scattered all over town” presented staffing problems that kept some children from being able to participate.
“Now with the complexes, it’s easier for us to staff them with fewer people, making the department more economical to operate and more convenient for parents to bring their children to the games,” he said. “We have excellent programs in this town and have been fortunate with the community to have lots of support for recreational programs. We’ve been able to grow as Troup County has grown.”
Howell said Parks and Recreation experienced its most notable growth after the first special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) was approved by voters in 2002.
“With the first SPLOST we were able to construct the George Harris baseball complex and the Mike Daniel Recreation Center and made improvements at ball fields in Hogansville and West Point,” said Howell. “That helped accommodate the growth of Troup County and has allowed us not only to provide quality programs for our residents but has generated revenue through field rentals and that type thing.”
Howell expressed appreciation to the Parks and Recreation Board for his promotion and said he looks forward to leading the department.
“It’s an honor to be named director and I thank the board for giving me this opportunity,” he said. “We have an excellent staff and we’ll strive to continue to provide the quality programs and activities that people in our community have been accustomed to. We will carry on with the tradition of doing as much as we can for the citizens in our community at the lowest cost possible.”