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New Recreation Supervisor Ready For Challenges
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The City of Riverbank has a new Recreation Supervisor, Tony Lemonds, who has been with the city for about a month and is looking forward to the reopening of programs and annual events. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

There have been many adjustments made this year maneuvering through a pandemic for businesses, families, and people in general and with vaccinations now readily available, things may be slowly getting back to normal. The City of Riverbank has a new Recreation Supervisor, Tony Lemonds, who said he is ready to tackle any challenges on the horizon.

The City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation Department had a tough year last year with the closure of several programs, playgrounds, events and parks. The tides have turned a bit and with schools reopening and vaccinations being administered, the department has reopened the parks, playgrounds, some programs and has begun plans for the Cheese and Wine festival.

“Tony did very well in the interview and we were impressed that he had been already following the City Council meetings and had done his research on the City of Riverbank,” said Parks and Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick. “He has the background that we were looking for which is a combination of education and experience. He also came with very high praise from his past Supervisor in the City of Lawndale. He is doing great so far, meeting staff, planning summer programs and getting to know our routine. He is definitely an asset to our team.”

Lemonds is from Southern California, specifically Orange County, and has been in the recreation field for several years working for roughly a half dozen cities. He previously was a recreation coordinator where he managed youth sports, adult sports, contract classes and several other programs.

“I actually wanted to switch it up and work somewhere that was more slow paced and somewhere there was more of a small town feel,” stated Lemonds on transitioning to NorCal. “Somewhere I could learn the ropes and build my résumé really well instead of being thrown in like a sink or swim kind of thing. I feel like this area, Riverbank more specifically, would be a really good opportunity for me to advance my career and advance myself personally within the field of parks and recreation.”

There are several differences between Northern California and Southern California Lemonds noted like the traffic, weather and terrain.

With only about a month in his current position with the City of Riverbank he is already enjoying the work place and getting to know the “close knit” community.

“Everyone is very friendly and very supportive,” remarked Lemonds. “They want to make me as comfortable as they can in this new position. So far I am really enjoying the job. It is very challenging. I can see it is going to be very challenging. It already is. That is why I am here. I am up for the challenge. I have a feeling here that I will have a long career. I plan to stay here for a while.”

As the Recreation Supervisor he will administer all the special events like the Cheese and Wine, the Halloween Hayride and the Christmas Parade under the leadership of Fitzpatrick. The position also includes maintaining the programs like Tot Time, the Teen Center, Camps, and other programs.

“I am really looking forward to the opportunities the future holds here in the city of Riverbank for expansion,” said Lemonds. “I have never really been in a city that had so much room for growth in terms of commercial and residential areas. So that is kind of exciting. I want to bring some new programs in like Yoga and other things like a family camp out day or family picnic day. So those are some of the things I am looking forward to.”

Lemonds explained that he is excited to assist in the planning for Cheese and Wine and the Haunted Hayride as this may be the last year for the Haunted Hayride because it is volunteer based and if people do not volunteer their staff is too small to host the event on their own.

“I am really looking forward to giving back to the community and providing some new programs for the community,” expressed Lemonds. “I am glad to be here. I just hope that the community enjoys what we have to offer and will participate. There will be new things so just look out for some new programs coming your way and fresh ideas.”