By Pam Robinson
Twenty-eight-year-old Michael Harshbarger started as the new director of Mount Vernon-Black Township Parks and Recreation Dept. on Wednesday, August 22. A former Wildcat basketball player, the athletic 2003 graduate of Mount Vernon High School has called Posey County home since he was 3 years old. He brings the enthusiasm and education necessary to maintain excellence at Parks and Rec.
“I’ve inherited a very good program,” Harshbarger comments. “I knew John Tate the former director, and everything looks fantastic. I want to continue to grow our programs and develop new programs that really get youth excited and out into the community as well as adults. I want to provide as many different opportunities to be involved, to be outside and exercise, to enjoy the numerous parks we have here and to keep progressing with our programs and the state of our parks. I want to make our parks as welcoming, as accessible and as fun as possible.”
The position seems meant for Harshbarger. His new office at Hedges served earlier as his fifth grade classroom, and he recalls his own participation in Parks and Rec programs as a child and young adult.
“I played basketball, baseball, soccer, and flag football. I have very fond memories of those times,” he says.
Harshbarger doesn’t try to contain his excitement about returning to Posey County, having worked two years in St. Louis after his graduation from University of Southern Indiana and Indiana State University, where he earned his master’s in sports management and recreation. Both he and his wife Danielle (Clowers), the sister of Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers, grew up here and appreciate bringing their young son and daughter, Reese (4) and Josie (2), here.
“We’re really excited to be back,” Harshbarger states. “I’m excited to get going in my position.”
He joins an eager staff: Ruth Fulwider, manager of the community center and pool; Adam Jines, recreation manager; and Debbie Scott, administrative assistant.
Mount Vernon-Black Township Parks and Recreation Dept. will reopen its community center at Hedges on Tuesday, August 28, after a great summer season of activity at Brittlebank Park Pool. Community center hours are Tuesday and Thursday noon – 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The community center is closed Sunday and Monday.
Fall and winter youth leagues are forming for soccer, cheerleading, football, hockey and basketball. Likewise, adult softball and indoor volleyball leagues are looking for action. New for adults is roller skating in the evenings this fall. Participants may download registrations forms at www.mountvernon.in.gov or pick them up at the Hedges office, 716 Locust Street, Entrance #8.
By Pam Robinson
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