Basin Recreation promotes from within for new director |

Basin Recreation promotes from within for new director

Brian Hanton sits for a portrait at a gazebo at Trailside Park Thursday morning, July 28, 2016. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
(Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

When Brian Hanton first joined the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District more than 10 years ago as the director of summer camps, there were only six-full time employees working in a small, cramped office at Trailside Park.

At the time, the district oversaw one community park and about 50 miles of trails, Hanton said, adding that “since then we have definitely added a lot, including the Fieldhouse.”

The district now manages approximately 1,800 acres of open space, 140 miles of trails, four parks and has several large projects in the works, including the third and final expansion of the Fieldhouse.

“It’s been pretty amazing to see where it started out,” Hanton said.

This week, the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District’s Administrative Control Board chose to promote the veteran employee to become its new director, responsible for overseeing operations and the district’s continued growth. More than 40 applied for the position, which pays between $87,000 and $131,000, not including benefits.

Hanton, who is 43 and lives in Highland Estates, replaces longtime former director Rena Jordan, who stepped down in March to accept a new position with an international company. He will start on Aug. 22.

Hanton said he never imagined that his initial position, which he accepted on a whim after moving to Utah from Michigan, would result in this new role. Hanton joined the district after working for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation.

“Honestly, growing up I always wanted to work with sports teams and a college and wanted to work with athletes, but when we moved to Utah it was about just finding something,” Hanton said. “Sports and recreation was always a part of my life growing up and now I’ve been able to grow with the district. It’s a culture that grows on you and it is something that is fun to do and makes coming to work enjoyable. “

With his experience as part of the district, Hanton said he anticipates a seamless transition after he overcomes the learning curve.

“I definitely think it is a positive to not only have an understanding of the staff and operations, but to also know the community relationships that we have already established with the city and school district,” Hanton said. “It would take a while for a new individual to develop those relationships. It will be part of my new role to continue to grow those relationships and make it a better offering to the community.

“I would like to continue the growth in our community relationships and start working with Vail, who is kind of the new kid on the block that hasn’t had the best reception,” he said. “I want to find ways to have some better working relationships with them and continue to develop our other ones.”

Hanton said the district is moving forward with its partners on the Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan. He said that will be a “pretty big tool” the district will use to budget and plan for future facilities. He added that the Silver Creek Village Center, to be located southeast of the Interstate 80/U.S. 40 intersection, will include a 100-acre park that the district will oversee.

Cathy Kahlow, chair of the recreation district’s administrative control board, said Hanton has been doing a “great job” establishing programs that the community desires.

“We feel like he will do a terrific job,” Kahlow said. “He definitely has a good track record of growing, learning and taking on challenges. We are looking forward to new adventure and the growth. We have the confidence in him that he will help us move to the next level.”

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