By NATHAN GREGORY
The Starkville Parks and Recreation Board named Herman Peters interim director at its meeting Thursday.
Peters will fill the position left vacant after former Director Matthew Rye officially stepped down from his duties during the meeting.
SPR Commission Chairman Dan Moreland said the committee will begin advertising for a permanent replacement next month. Rye’s salary was $52,000 per year.
Rye confirmed earlier this month he accepted a teaching position in the Mississippi State University Department of Kinesiology. He has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in physical education, both from MSU. He first joined SPR in 2005 and was named director in 2009.
Moreland praised Rye for what he was able to accomplish during his three-year tenure.
“We hate to see Matthew go but we can’t blame him for going,” Moreland said. “He took his job seriously but he didn’t get shook up about anything. When it was time to put his foot down he put his foot down. He has that quality in him. He was always working with the people, working with the staff, working to improve the staff and facilities we had. He was very people-oriented and did a great job.”
Peters, who is currently the Starkville Sportsplex sports coordinator, said he plans to oversee park projects going on in the city in the interim.’
“The main project is to finish what our former director had already started, (which is) the splash pad at J.L. King Park. We’re also working on the soccer pavilion at the Sportsplex,” Peters said.
Rye said he’s looking forward to working at MSU but will miss his directing duties.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity. I met with the faculty there and the department head. They’re really passionate about what they do,” Rye said. “I’m bittersweet and sad to leave here because of the friendship I’ve made, the staff, the park commission has been very supportive. I leave wishing them very good luck in the future.”
He said the people he’s worked with during his tenure have been the driving force behind his success as director.
“Watching the staff implement programs we’ve put in place in a way that I think people can be proud of, it’s something they’ve worked hard at.
That was fun to see and it’s something I’ll miss because they’re a special group,” Rye said. “I just want to say thanks for the opportunity (the board has) given me. I’ll be around to help out whenever I can in a volunteer way.”