Greg Weitzel

Greg Weitzel

Greg Weitzel, Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation director, is leaving the post next month, City Spokesman Bud Cranor said.

Weitzel has worked for Idaho Falls since 2012, when he came to Idaho Falls from a parks office in Pennsylvania.

“Greg was a visionary person who really helped move Parks and Recreation forward, and he will be missed,” Cranor said.

Weitzel accepted a job as the head of Parks and Recreation in Las Vegas. His last day will be June 3.

“The City of Idaho Falls has been well served by the vision and the energy Director Wetzel has brought to the Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department. He has made connecting with the community a hallmark of his service,” Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said in a news release. “We are enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead — both for the city and for Director Weitzel. We wish him all the best.”

In a Post Register profile shortly after he was hired, Weitzel discussed his career and how he started out cleaning the floors of recreation centers in Pennsylvania when he was 12 years old to earn extra cash. That led to a part time job and, eventually, a career.

“When I first saw the great greenbelt riverwalk, I saw an opportunity to connect neighborhoods to the greenbelt,” Weitzel said in the 2012 article. “We need to provide multiple modes of transportation for people to get where they want to go, and trails provide that whether you want to ride a bike or take a walk.”

Weitzel spearheaded the 2014 Connecting Our Communities plan. The plan followed an October 2013 survey of residents in Idaho Falls, Ammon, Iona and Ucon. More than 1,100 surveys were returned. Most respondents said they wanted more connections to the greenbelt, safe routes to schools and more trails.

Among Weitzel’s biggest contributions as director are the Rock Gardens at Taylor’s Crossing, the Maeck Education Center at the Idaho Falls Zoo and improvements to the greenbelt, which has been renamed the River Walk during his tenure.

He also was heavily involved in shaping the plans for the under-construction 14-acre Heritage Park on the west bank of the Snake River. The park’s plans include an expansion of the River Walk, nature trails, walkways, a nature-themed playground, an interactive stream, water gardens and more.

Last month, Idaho Falls won two awards from the Idaho Recreation and Park Association for its parks and recreation department programs.

The Up, Up and Away program, a two-day camp to teach children about aeronautics and aviation, won the Outstanding Innovative Program Award. The William J. Maeck Education Center won the Outstanding Facility Award.

Cranor said plans have not been made for determining Weitzel’s replacement.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.

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