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Dover welcomes new parks director

| April 21, 2022
New Dover Parks Director Jeff Mathews at Dover City Park.

DOVER (WJER) (April 21, 2022) – The city has a new parks director following Scott Jerles retirement from the position after 32 years with the city.

Jeff Mathews is now leading the city’s parks, recreation and shade tree services. He has worked for the city for 24 years in the cemetery department and more recently in the parks department running the city’s pool.

“Scott was terrific. He was a terrific boss,” Mathews said. “We’re going to miss him a lot, I can tell you that. He’s definitely missed already, but I look forward to, in the coming months and years, doing what he did, and what I think he did was put a lot of smiles on people’s faces.”

Jerles led the parks department for the last 14 years.

“I have enjoyed it,” he said. “I’ve always said I have the best job in the city.

“I’ll be 55 in July, and I’ve always had a goal of retiring at an early age and just enjoying life and my grandson. [I’m going to] spend more time with him and my family.”

City council is working on a proclamation to thank Jerles.

Jerles oversaw growth of city parks

Councilman and Park Committee Chair Justin Perkowski says the parks grew under Jerles. He oversaw the addition of the playground at the city park during his first year. New developments at the parks include new turf on the baseball field, a playground and pickleball courts at deis hill, and plans for walking and hiking paths around and between the parks.

“Something he often doesn’t get credit for but is a huge part of is the End of Summer Celebration,” Perkowski said of Jerles. “That’s his baby. He helps gather sponsors. He puts the show together. He gets the band about a year in advance. I think this year it’s going to be a Queen cover band. It’s something that the citizens really look forward to at the end of the summer and I don’t know if he got enough credit.”

Mathews says he’ll take over planning the End of Summer Celebration this year, but Jerles will be around to help.

“He definitely left some big shoes to fill,” Mathews said. “I’m going to do my best to learn the job and serve the community as we continue to make the parks a beautiful place.”

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