New Parks and Rec director returns home

The Maple Valley Parks and Recreation Department has a new director who has a lot of experience to keep the department going.

Dave Johnson, a long-time resident of Maple Valley, has been working in parks and recreation since 1991.

His passion started when he was 16.

To keep that passion going, Johnson said he went to Western Washington University to get his bachelors degree in parks and recreation. He also has a certification from the National Recreation of Parks Association, making him a parks and recreation professional.

His degree led him to work at a couple of cities before he made his way back home to Maple Valley for work.

“I was the deputy director of parks and recreation for the city of Edmonds, I started there in June 2017, so I was only there for a short time. But before I was at Edmonds, I worked for the city of Tukwila and I was there for 25 years,” he said.

Once Johnson saw the opening for parks director in Maple Valley, he jumped at the opportunity.

“For a number of years my professional goal has been to be a director of a department and I happen to live in Maple Valley, so when Greg retired, Maple Valley advertised for the position — a perfect opportunity for me to stay in my community and serve the community as the director here in Maple Valley,” he said.

His official start date with Maple Valley was Jan. 2.

So far, Johnson said he has really liked working in Maple Valley and is excited for the opportunity.

“Aside from my nice short commute, I’m just really looking forward to having an impact in the community that I live in. You know its a great opportunity to work with the people here and continue to provide great programs and facilities for the community,” he said.

He said he is not looking to make any changes to the parks department, he only wants to continue what Greg Brown (the former parks director) was doing. He said Brown and the rest of the staff have done a great job of getting the parks and recreation department where it is now.

“My goal is to kind of come in and take it to the next level locally and regionally,” Johnson said.

He said he is struggling with is getting caught up on everything.

“It’s just there’s a lot going on in such a small town here. Just trying to get up to speed, but I’m excited for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “(I’m) still trying to get my feet wet and learn everything that there is to learn.”

Aside from continuing to work on current projects, Johnson said he is also excited to get some new projects up and running.

“I’m excited to be here and to live and work in this community is a wonderful opportunity. I’m just excited to contribute to my hometown’s quality of life,” he said.