Regional Recreation Coordinator Justin Keller with the Pottstown Area Regional Recreation Committee (PARRC).
Pottstown, PA – August 4, 2016 – Effective August 12, 2016, Justin Keller will complete his tenure as regional recreation coordinator of the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee (PMRPC) and will replace Erica Batdorf (Weekley) as the Borough of Pottstown’s assistant manager.
“We are excited to welcome Justin in his new role as Assistant Borough Manager,” Borough Manager Mark Flanders said. “His demonstrated ability to foster regional cooperation in his current role as Regional Recreational Coordinator and his success in grant acquisitions for our region made Justin the frontrunner in our search to fill the position. Add to that his experience with municipal planning, zoning ordinances, land use development and project management, it’s easy to see why we selected Justin for the position. This is definitely a plus for the Borough and I’m looking forward to working with Justin.”
Keller began serving as the inaugural regional recreation coordinator, also referred to as regional circuit rider, of PMRPC in August 2014. PMRPC is an entity formed by an intergovernmental agreement of cooperation among eight municipalities of the greater Pottstown region in Montgomery and Chester Counties.
Six of the eight municipalities that comprise the region, Douglass, Lower Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove and West Pottsgrove Townships and Pottstown Borough in Montgomery County and North Coventry Township in Chester County, with the help and support of the PMRPC, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation (PAHWF), and the Schuylkill River Greenway Association (SRGA), joined together to establish Keller’s position to focus on improving the parks, recreation and open space services provided to residents of each municipality. The role was created to facilitate municipal collaboration and stimulate development of recreation facilities and the preservation of open space to implement better planning for parks and trails in order to economically address the region’s needs.
The position was made possible through a circuit rider grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) with contributions from PAHWF, the six municipalities and PMRPC.
The Pottstown Area Regional Recreation Committee (PARRC) of the PMRPC, comprised of representatives from PAHWF, PMRPC, and each of the six municipalities, meets monthly to oversee the work of the Regional Recreation and Parks Coordinator.
Additionally, Keller has worked to foster community collaboration, convening local organizations and creating a regional calendar to raise awareness and attendance at events with the greater Pottstown region.
“Justin has really stepped up to the plate as the inaugural regional recreation coordinator,” PAHWF President Dave Kraybill said. “In his two short years in the position, he has secured significant grant funding for recreational purposes across the region,” Kraybill said. “His commitment to collaboration and parks and recreation has been a driving force within the six municipalities he served.”
Donna Fabry, Montgomery County Planning Commission’s representative to PARRC, also spoke to Keller’s accomplishments throughout his tenure and how the position has been an asset to the region.
“The regional recreation coordinator program has been invaluable in terms of the cooperative spirit it has fostered among the members of the Recreation Committee,” Fabry said. “Through his leadership and experience, Justin (Keller) has put recreation efforts in the Pottstown region on a positive path forward. We are very pleased with all that’s been accomplished in two short years.”
Borough of Pottstown Parks and Recreation Director Michael Lenhart said Keller has proven to be a key asset to PARRC and to the Borough with an impeccable work-ethic and a wealth of professional knowledge.
“More so than anything, I have been impressed by his (Keller’s) devotion to his work, willingly volunteering to assist with special events on multiple occasions in addition to performing his regular duties, and by his natural leadership abilities,” Lenhart said.
Jay Erb, Chairperson of North Coventry Township’s Parks & Recreation Commission echoed Lenhart’s sentiments.
“Meeting the needs of six municipal park systems requires a great deal of diverse knowledge,” Erb said. “Justin (Keller) was able to organize a variety of park projects for multiple municipalities to maximize the efficiency of grant funding as well as provide technical assistance when needed.”
As Keller prepares for his new role with the Borough, he reflected on the past two years in his current position.
"It has truly been an honor serving the six participating municipalities as the region's first recreation coordinator,” Keller said. “I am proud to be part of an unprecedented level of regional cooperation and coordination which has attracted well over a half million dollars of grant investments for area parks and trails.”
The DCNR grant program is currently in its second year with three years remaining. Based on the initial success of the circuit rider program, strong financial support from PAHWF and consistent participation from the six municipalities, it is plausible that this position will continue to be fully funded well beyond expiration of the grant term. A search for Keller’s replacement is underway and the position opening can be found on the PMRPC website: https://pottstownmetroregion.com/
“I believe the success of the regional recreation coordinator position is key to advancing wider regional dialogue and collaboration for a variety of shared objectives,” Keller said. “I look
forward to supporting continuation of this highly valuable program in my new capacity with the Borough of Pottstown."
About the Foundation: The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s (PAHWF) mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s online community, Mission Healthy Living, an initiative of PAHWF, to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life. You can also follow Mission Healthy Living on Facebook and Twitter and follow The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation on LinkedIn and Pinterest.