SPRINGFIELD, MO. —  Ron Schneider has been named Director of Parks and Recreation for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Schneider replaces Bob Belote, who retired as director in January after a 20-year history with the parks department. Jim Fisher is currently serving as interim director. Schneider will begin work Monday, July 8.

Schneider earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University, and is a Certified Park and Recreation Executive. With nearly 25 years of full-time management experience in the parks and recreation field, he most recently served as the Executive Director for the Freeport Park District in Freeport, Il.

“It is an honor to serve the Springfield-Greene County Park Board,” said Schneider. “I look forward to providing the highest quality parks, recreation facilities and programs to residents and being a responsible steward of the Park Board’s resources.”

Schneider was selected after a nationwide search, led by Springfield-Greene County Park Board, with representation from City management. City Manager Jason Gage said he is the right person to lead the award-winning parks department into the future.  

“Ron is a visionary with a track record of creating successful strategy and working with stakeholders to turn plans into reality,” Gage said. “He is the right person at the right time to lead the parks and recreation efforts tied to our comprehensive plan, Forward SGF. We look forward to working with him.” 

Randall Blackwood, chair of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, said the board’s decision was based, in part, on Schneider’s experience leading a diverse parks district that spanned three counties, his enthusiasm and his eye to the future of parks and recreation. 

“The board was very impressed with his energy and his interest, specifically, in our Parks system, and in recognizing that we’re already a leader in the field,” said Blackwood. “As he learned more about our department and the resources available here, he was more excited, and his energy was infectious. He has a lot of ideas on new trends in parks and trails. He is going to bring a great deal of vision, and continue the tradition of great Parks leadership in our community.”

Blackwood said the board also noted that Schneider’s involvement in parks beyond his official capacity.

“He is an avid biker and runner himself, so he is not only going to be a Parks Director, he’ll be a parks user too.”

Schneider says he hopes to bring fresh ideas that will continue to make Springfield a great place to work, live, play and visit. 

“I understand the importance of recreation and the value it brings to a community including quality of life outcomes and economic impact,” he said. “I’m excited for the bright future of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and look to build upon the impressive level of service already offered.”

About the Springfield-Greene County Park Board 

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board coordinates programs, facilities and events at 105 park sites, ranging from neighborhood playgrounds to multi-use recreational facilities to natural resource areas. The 3,200-acre system includes four golf courses, three family centers, a zoo, a farm park, botanical gardens, several sports and athletic complexes, two indoor aquatics centers, six outdoor swimming pools, multiple School-Park sites and more than 100 miles of recreational trails — including 70+ miles of Greenways. Each year, parks facilities host more than 50 national, regional, state and local tournaments in softball, baseball, soccer, hockey, tennis, volleyball and golf, generating an estimated $13-15 million annually for the local economy.

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For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352 or cscott@springfieldmo.gov or Jenny Edwards, Springfield-Greene County Park Board Public Information Administrator, at 417-224-5510 or jfedwards@springfieldmo.gov.