Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District director resigns
January 30, 2016
Rena Jordan never envisioned she would hold her position as the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District director for more than five years when she accepted it in January of 2007.
Jordan and her husband had just moved to Park City from California and she actually had no intentions of working at all. But after noticing an advertisement for the recreation district, she "blew off all the plans" she had of finding a job with little responsibility and accepted the role.
"I never foresaw this. It was never my intention," Jordan said. "I was still doing charitable work in California and owned four legal businesses. But I made that commitment and it has been one of the best experiences for me."
Almost exactly nine years later, Jordan has decided to resign from her post, effective March 11. Jordan announced her intentions last week to board members and the Summit County Council.
Jordan said she is stepping down to become the chief operating officer of the company Walking the Talk. Jordan said the global company specializes in the behavioral aspect of an organization and how to tie that into its business strategy. Jordan will continue living in Park City.
"It’s sort of my passion. I worked for their competitor for 17 years and they sought me out five years ago to be on board," Jordan said. "Next thing I know I’m doing some consulting work with them and then they recently made a strong pitch for me to take this position.
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"I gave myself the holidays to think it through and decided it’s the right time to leave," she said.
The recreation district has the highest bond rating that it has ever had, is in a healthy financial situation and has some major projects on the verge of launching, Jordan said.
"It’s never a great time, but I feel the best about my team and I don’t have that guilt of leaving them behind," Jordan said. "When there is change it is always good to have fresh eyes. This will be a fresh opportunity for someone else to take on my role."
Jordan is set to leave the district as it is on the verge of breaking ground on the second and final expansion of the Fieldhouse. Construction is slated to begin sometime this summer. In 2015, the district successfully passed a $25 million bond to fund the project.
"We were surprised and happy for Rena that she has a new opportunity to challenge herself," Cathy Kahlow, chair of the administrative control board, said. "We are going to miss her because she has done an outstanding job as far as the business aspect of the district. It is definitely a loss."
"The district has grown over the years as it relates to the amount of projects and it has done an excellent job under Rena’s direction," Kahlow said. "We want to be careful about how we move forward and the skills and abilities of a new director and what those needs to be to keep the district going."
Other projects that have been accomplished during Jordan’s tenure include the U.S. 40 wildlife undercrossing, the Run-a-Muck off-leash dog trail beneath the Utah Olympic Parkway, an expanded trail system and creation of a management plan for Toll Canyon.
Last year, one of Jordan’s most controversial clashes with the County Council occurred as the recreation district attempted to move forward with the State Road 224 and Bear Hollow pedestrian crossing. Officials decided to put the project on an indefinite hold in September.
"The famous 224 crossing and going over or under was certainly one of my rougher patches of creative controversy," Jordan said. "It was never my intention for that. The intention was to create a safer crossing and we’ve been discussing it for years, but I probably pushed the accelerator a little harder than I should have."
On Thursday, Jordan’s office didn’t show any signs of her impending departure and the administrative building appeared to be buzzing with business as usual. Jordan said some tears had been shed, but joked that in two months "no will remember me anyway."
Jordan seemed comfortable in her decision and excited to start a new position within a familiar field. The company has offices in London, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Jordan is scheduled to travel to Amsterdam within the next couple of weeks.
"I have never worked in government so this has been a great learning experience for me," Jordan said. "Having worked those nine years under this domain has been tricky at times, but I feel I’m ready to conquer the world. If I can survive here I can survive anywhere.
"I don’t know what it will feel like, but it will not be a completely different world since I already did this for 17 years."
The board has not yet starting advertising for Jordan’s position. The district, the administrative board and county staff are in the process of evaluating how the position will be structured moving forward.
A board meeting is scheduled to take place next week and district officials are scheduled to go before the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission on Feb. 9 about the fieldhouse expansion.
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