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Interim Director of Parks and Recreation Announced

Galesburg, IL The City of Galesburg will welcome Elizabeth Varner as the Interim Director of Parks and Recreation on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Varner served as a professional in the field of Parks and Recreation for over 32 years, including 30 years with the City of Galesburg before her retirement in 2018.


During her time as a Recreation Supervisor with the City of Galesburg, she was responsible for the management and supervision of recreation facilities, including Hawthorne Pool, Lakeside Water Park, Lakeside Nature Center, and Lake Storey Beach and waterslide. She assisted with the management and supervision of additional year-round recreation facilities and staff including Lakeside Recreation Facility, Lake Storey Pavilion, and Hawthorne Gymnasium. Varner successfully coordinated numerous programs and events throughout her career serving the Galesburg community and surrounding area.

Varner holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Parks Administration from Indiana University. She was awarded the Illinois Park and Recreation Association 1996 Aquatics Manager of the Year and received New Program of the Year 2009 from the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois.

Through her extensive professional history, Varner enters the interim position with many positive relationships, expertise in the field of recreation, as well as in-depth knowledge of the specific facilities, programs, and systems that make up the City of Galesburg Parks and Recreation Department.

This change in personnel occurs as Tony Oligney-Estill, who has served as the Parks & Recreation Director for the City of Galesburg since 2015 accepts a position with the Galesburg Police Department as the Community Service Supervisor.

“Elizabeth is the ideal candidate to provide leadership during this period of transition,” said Bradley Nolden, City Attorney and Administrative Services Director. “We are confident she’ll do an exemplary job of fulfilling the duties while a search is conducted for a permanent Director of Parks and Recreation.”

It is anticipated a comprehensive recruitment campaign for the Director of Parks and Recreation will begin in the near future. In order to allow the time necessary to conduct a thorough search, Varner is slated to fulfill the interim duties throughout the search and onboarding process.

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