Each year brings changes to the Butts County Leisure Services Department but after this year, one change will be quite noticeable when Director Jim Herbert retires from his position as the head of the department. Herbert, who has shepherded the Parks and Recreation functions of Butts County for the past fifteen years has notified the County of his intention to retire at the end of this year.
In a letter to Butts County Administrator Michael Brewer, Jim Herbert stated “It is my intention to retire at the end of this calendar year. The history & tradition of organized leisure services for the citizens of Butts County, especially the youth, spans fifty nine (59) years of private and public commitment. Parks & Recreation is a County service which impacts in a very positive way the social fabric of our entire community. It is my fervent hope that this commitment will continue for at least 59 more years. If there are any ways that I can help in the continuation of this history & tradition, I am willing to assist”.
Herbert was selected for the position of Parks and Recreation Director of Butts County in 1998. Over the last fifteen years, he oversaw many changes and improvements to the facilities that have been utilized by untold thousands of Butts County’s youth since Daughtry Park was opened in the 1970’s. As Herbert took on more responsibilities and the scope of the department increased, the name was changed to the Department of Leisure Services to more accurately reflect all of the areas they oversee.
In addition to Parks and Recreation, the department now oversees the Senior Citizens Center and all of the associated programs that provide outreach to local seniors, as well as the Butts Country Regional Transit system, which provides low cost transportation to people within the region. The department also provides a critical link between the County government and the Butts County Historical Society, working to improve historical properties as a further outreach of recreation.
During the tenure of Jim Herbert, the Daughtry Park facilities have added additional playing fields, including a completely new soccer complex, new tennis courts and, most recently, a stand-alone senior citizens center located in the former Child Development Center. The facilities today are considered to be among the best in the state of any county close to our size.
“Each person who has held this job for Butts County has taken Parks and Recreation to the next level” stated County Administrator Michael Brewer. “Jim Herbert is certainly no exception to that legacy, having impacted this department in such a positive way over the past 15 years”.
Many of the local children who were participating in active sports programs when Herbert began his tenure with Butts County are now volunteering and working as adults in the parks and recreation system. Many of them now have children of their own who are actively participating in organized sports and are being positively impacted just as their parents were.
“Leisure Services provides an important aspect to the quality of life in Butts County” said Butts County Commission Chairman Gator Hodges. “You can have excellent services in every other area but if you don’t have good, organized recreational services for our kids and quality programs for our active older adults, it becomes a lot harder to attract good businesses, industries and citizens to our area. Jim Herbert has been an important part of making sure our Leisure Services Department fills that need in a positive and professional way”.
Although Herbert’s last official day with the County will be December 31st, his effective last day with the County will be around November 15th to allow him to expend his accumulated leave time. The County will host a reception to honor him at a date and time to be announced later.