PALM HARBOR — Erica Lynford has been named the new director of Palm Harbor Parks and Recreation. She has been serving as interim director since January and replaces Rick Burton, who retired after seven years in the job.
Lynford, 44, will oversee a staff of 19 full- and part-time employees, plus umpires and referees, as well as the operation of Pop Stansell Park, Putnam Park, Palm Field, Sunderman Complex, Palm Harbor Middle School field, Carwise Middle School fields and Buildings 1 and 2 of the Palm Harbor Community Activity Center.
A Countryside High graduate who holds a sales and marketing degree from St. Petersburg College, Lynford has worked for Palm Harbor's recreation program since 2003, holding several different jobs. She first became interested in the recreation program when her children — Sara, 16, Elyse, 18, and Steven, 20 — were young.
"My kids grew up on the ball fields here,'' Lynford said. "I've been involved with recreation since when my son Steven was playing Little Kicks. He was about 3."
In her new job, Lynford aims to increase registration at the Palm Harbor Community Activity Center, which is currently at about 500 members, as well as boost financial support of Palm Harbor's recreation programs.
She will earn $55,000 per year.
"I think Palm Harbor is the best-kept secret going," she said. "It's the third-largest community in Pinellas County, and yet feels like the most interconnected small community I've been in.''
Her community involvement has included the Parks and Recreation Community Advisory Board, high school softball and baseball booster clubs, Little League, Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce Arts and Crafts Show committee, Northern Pinellas County Action Council board, Palm Harbor Recreation League Inc. board, and local school and sports associations.
Piper Castillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4163.