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Friday, April 19, 2024

Deane Steps Down as Director of Schenectady Parks Following a Year in Position


SCHENECTADY — After a year of dedicated service, during which he initiated a summer parks program for the youth and filled a position that had been unoccupied for 20 years, Willie Deane, the Director of Schenectady Parks, tendered his resignation on Tuesday, as he embarks on a new career journey.

Deane has decided to leave his city post this week to pursue a certification in the field of electrical work.

“I decided to step back from my city duties to focus entirely on this new venture,” he stated on Wednesday.

Deane confirmed that he submitted his resignation letter to the city on Tuesday and officially left the department the same day.

“I can rest easy knowing that I gave my all during the year I served,” he expressed. “I always put the city of Schenectady and its community first, from the bottom of my heart.”

Deane is set to graduate from a Latham-based electrician apprenticeship program in May and will then decide on his future career path.

“Once I graduate, I’ll evaluate my options and make a more informed decision,” he added.

Mayor Gary McCarthy mentioned on Tuesday that Deane was unable to dedicate the necessary time to the city parks job due to his pursuit of an electrician’s certification.

Upon assuming office last March, Deane prioritized the establishment of a summer youth program that catered to children in four city parks last summer. The program offered free arts and educational activities for Schenectady kids on weekdays throughout July and August.

Deane expressed his hope that the summer parks program will continue even in his absence.

Deane, who contributed to the city’s state high school basketball championship in 1998, plans to stay involved with the Schenectady community after leaving the McCarthy administration.

“I’ll certainly miss the direct connection with the community, but I’ve always been an active community member and I’ll continue to be involved, probably in the same capacity,” Deane said. “It’ll just be under a different organization.”

The parks director position had been vacant for two decades before Deane assumed the role. McCarthy expressed his desire to fill the position before the summer season. The city is preparing to open the new $10 million Central Park pool this summer.

“We’re aiming to staff up to match the level of investments we’ve made in capital projects within the park,” McCarthy stated on Tuesday. “We’ve got the golf course, we’re finalizing the swimming pool, we’ve got the pickleball courts and Music Haven. There’s the A [baseball] diamond and things in the neighborhood pocket parks. We need to ensure we have the staff to maintain and program activities to support the community’s use of these investments.”

McCarthy confirmed that the city plans to keep the youth summer parks initiative running for this year.

“We had evaluated what worked and what didn’t, and we’re planning to have it continue and run again this year,” the mayor said.

The parks director position was funded at an $83,200 annual salary in the city’s 2024 budget.

After a successful Schenectady High School basketball career, Deane graduated from Purdue University and went on to play basketball professionally in Ukraine, Italy, and France until 2018.

In 2019, Deane published the children’s book “Love” and was inducted into the Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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