Glencoe Park District is facing a big change this spring, with its long-time Director of Parks and Maintenance, Rick Bold, set to retire after nearly 37 years on the job. During his leadership, Bold led teams that renovated nearly every park and playground in Glencoe.
Glencoe Park District isn’t used to change. The prior Director of Parks held the position for 48 years. That means only two men have led this department in the last 85 years. Glencoe seems to be the kind of town people don’t want to leave.
“Glencoe is a really nice community. The people are really nice and I developed a lot of great friendships,” said Bold, who is also a Glencoe resident.
Bold first became interested in the great outdoors when he was a child growing up in the Skokie/Morton Grove area. He participated in Boy Scouts where he enjoyed camping and other outdoor activities. Bold also had a fondness for climbing trees. He remembers sneaking out at night to watch the Skokie Park District flood a local park to create an ice rink in the winter.
This love for the outdoors led Bold to a pre-forestry program at Eastern Illinois University and then a forestry program at Southern Illinois University where he earned his degree. While Bold initially wanted to become a forest ranger, he soon realized that he needed to broaden his interests in such a crowded field with few opportunities. After taking courses on landscape design, he realized working in parks and recreation would be a good fit for him.
Bold’s first position was at the Wilmette Park District, but when the position opened in Glencoe in 1978, Bold took the job and gained more responsibilities. In his position, Bold oversaw the grounds, parks, landscaping, athletic fields, beaches – essentially anything owned by the Park District that is outside. He is also in charge of the maintenance of all Park District facilities, such as Watts Ice Arena, Takiff Recreation Center and the beach facilities.
But what Bold loves most about the job is still the outdoors. Because Glencoe is a small town, he was able to still get outside and get his hands dirty. “My job wasn’t just administrative, I was able to work in the field,” Bold explained. “Just staying in my office is not what I like.”
Over time Bold developed a passion for trees, since Glencoe has so many old trees that need care. Along the way he became a certified arborist. Bold also continued his education in other areas, becoming a certified sports field manager and a certified playground inspector.
Bold has really enjoyed his job and when asked what was most memorable he said: “Pretty much the whole thing.” He loves that he can go down and enjoy the lakefront.
“I have been fortunate to work in two of the nicest community parks on the North Shore.”