Melvin Cooper, who has been at the helm of the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department for 30 years, announced his retirement at a board of directors meeting Monday night.
Cooper has served the agency for 47 years, 30 of which were spent leading as director.
Cooper said in a letter to the board his last day will be May 31, 2019. In the letter he also states it is time to get new life in the agency and that he wants to spend more time with his family.
"From the time I was 12 years old I knew what I wanted to do and began to set my goals for what I have done for the last 47 years. I wanted to lead change, I wanted to be change, I wanted to work with people and make a difference. During my career, I sought to make a difference in this wonderful community and believing the work I did in parks and recreation made a difference one person at a time. My career in the field has spanned almost half a century and while I have enjoyed the journey tremendously, I feel it is time, time for a new beginning, time for younger blood and time for me to spend more quality time with my family and grandson."
Chairman John Simpson said he was grateful for Cooper's service to the department. "Melvin has immeasurably improved the quality of life in our community for generations and directly impacted so many lives. On behalf of our Board, we are very grateful for his 47 years of service."
The search for a replacement will begin on November 1.