Dennis Dovel, Blue Springs' parks and recreation director, received the 2019 Park Resource Distinguished Service Award last month from the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association.

Since becoming parks director in 2012, Dovel has guided several initiatives including the renovation and opening of the Blue Springs Fieldhouse in 2012, the department's first comprehensive master plan and working with local leaders and citizens to pass a five-year, half-cent sales tax for parks maintenance in 2016. Several of the projects promised in the maintenance plan have been completed, and a large-scale overhaul of Burrus Old Mill Park is scheduled for completion by this summer.

“Dennis came to us with new ideas and a determination to make our parks and recreation system a gem of Jackson County, and through tireless work over the last seven years and an eye to the future he has been instrumental in setting us down the path to success,” Keith Hannaman, chairman of the Blue Springs Park Commission, said in a release.

Dovel said the award would not be possible without the help of city leaders, department staff and the Park.

“I am blessed that everyone continues to afford me the opportunity transform our park system, operations and programs,” he said. “Without the support of everyone, we would not be experiencing the growth and improvements we have and will be in the future.”