CHAPEL HILL — Parks and Recreation Director Butch Kisiah will retire Dec. 31.
“(My wife) Nancy and I have been given the opportunity to realize a dream that we have been working toward for over 25 years. We believe that this is the right time to begin a new chapter in the life of our family,” Kisiah wrote in his retirement letter.
The couple will be moving to Hilton Head, S.C., where Nancy Kisiah plans to start a new job as a brokerage compliance officer. Kisiah said she talked about living in the island community since before they were married and has fond memories of her family’s vacations there.
“She followed me about everywhere, and I think it’s time to (return the favor),” he said.
The couple bought a house in an estate sale, and Kisiah said he’s nearly finished with the renovations. His short-term plans include fishing and playing golf; he might pick up a part-time job eventually, he said. Their son, who lives in Charlotte, is getting married in the spring, he said.
Kisiah, who will be 58 in January, was hired in 2007 at a time when the Chapel Hill Town Council had asked the town manager to improve parks and recreation services. He has spent more than 30 years in parks and recreation, working in Asheville for 23 years before coming to Chapel Hill.
His last official day at work will be Dec. 20.
Among his achievements, Kisiah mentioned reorganizing the department to include park maintenance and landscaping, creating a new cultural arts division, boosting local events and festivals, and building Homestead Aquatic Center, Southern Community Park and the Morgan Creek Trail. He also cited the support of Parks and Recreation staff, the town’s senior management team and their departments.
Town Manager Roger Stancil praised Kisiah’s work in an email Monday to Town Council members:
“Butch has brought us far and built a solid foundation for the future in parks and recreation. He has made a difference in the lives of many young people. He leaves a legacy of developing his staff to carry on, planning for the future of our facilities with the (parks and greenways) master plans Council recently adopted and looking to the future of our youth with his work on the Youth Services initiative underway,” Stancil wrote in his email.
Kisiah said what the department and its staff has accomplished during his tenure reflects the support they get from the community, the council and the town manager.
“For me, I think I’m leaving the department in a lot better shape than when I got here,” he said. “I’d put (the staff) up against anybody. I’m really going to miss the daily interactions with these folks.”