Executive Director Dave A. Lorenz Announces Retirement
It’s the end of an era. David A. Lorenz, a name practically synonymous with South Suburban, and an icon in the park and recreation industry, is retiring after 48 years with South Suburban Park and Recreation District, and 30 years as Executive Director, effective March 31, 2015.
Under his direction, the District was awarded the National Recreation and Park Association’s National Gold Medal Award three times for excellence in park and recreation management, and was recognized eleven times as a finalist for the Gold Medal Award. Lorenz also helped steer the District through seven successful mill levy and/or bond issue elections, with the most recent one on Nov. 4.
Among many other contributions and accomplishments, Lorenz is primarily responsible for the development of the Goodson Recreation Center, Sheridan Recreation Center and Community Park, Holly Swim and Tennis Center, Cook Creek Swimming Pool, the Littleton Golf and Tennis Center, the Douglas H. Buck Community Recreation Center and the Lone Tree Recreation Center and the Lone tree Tennis Centers.
In addition to those facilities, Lorenz led the District’s involvement in designing and building many unique recreation features including Colorado Journey mini golf, batting cages, BMX track, Disc golf and dog parks, skate parks, in-line hockey rinks and spray ground water features at multiple locations.
“South Suburban is what it is today because of Dave’s leadership. The residents of the District owe him a great debt of gratitude. He will truly be missed”, said South Suburban Board Chair John Ostermiller.
South Suburban serves more than 135,000 residents in Littleton, Sheridan, Columbine Valley, Bow Mar, Lone Tree and Centennial west of 1-25, and portions of Jefferson, Douglas and Arapahoe counties.
South Suburban encompasses four recreation centers, an entertainment center, sports dome, four outdoor pools, two ice arenas, four golf courses, a two-tired, heated-driving range, three miniature golf courses, a boutique hotel, 154 multi-purpose athletic fields and 50 tennis courts. The District maintains nearly 3,800 acres of developed and open space land, which includes more than 100 parks, the 880-acre South Platte Park, 88 miles of trails and 60 playgrounds.
Lorenz capitalized on opportunities to acquire land, purchase existing facilities, and build and extend trails for better connectivity throughout the District.
After decades of acquiring land, designing and building facilities, and creating parks and playgrounds, the focus now is to maintain District assets. “There’s no need for another golf course, swimming pool or recreation center within the District,” says Lorenz. With the passage of Ballot Issue 4C on November 4, South Suburban will have the funds to upgrade facilities, replace equipment, install more energy efficient irrigation systems and implement an energy efficiency project.
Lorenz was successful at building relationships, and had the vision to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships with agencies, cities and organizations that would serve the park and recreation industry well now and in the future. Lorenz was instrumental in the formation of the South Platte Working Group, which is comprised of 19 different entities, including eight cities and Arapahoe County. The SPWG works to protect the South Platte River corridor from development and helps to enhance recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat.
Lorenz also was involved in the initial effort, along with other Colorado Park and Recreation professionals, to form the state lottery program with proceeds for parks and recreation. He was appointed by Governor Roy Romer to the original task force which created the Great Outdoors Colorado program.
In a creative move, Lorenz initiated the development of the old Arapahoe County Landfill into an athletic complex, using artificial turf fields and obtaining three Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) Grants for field development. The David A. Lorenz Regional Park, named by the Board of Directors in 2003, has won awards for land stewardship and design.
Three of the District’s acquired facilities; Hudson Gardens, Lone Tree Golf Club and Family Sports Center were privately owned. Hudson Gardens was in bankruptcy; The Lone Tree Golf Club was in foreclosure and with South Suburban’s purchase, the golf course became a public club and hotel. Lorenz negotiated the purchase of Family Sports Center at an auction in NYC. No public tax dollars were used to purchase the Family Sports Center.
Lorenz is proud of the growth of the District to provide facilities, programs, parks, trails and open space throughout the community that benefit the residents of the District. He’s also proud that residents have supported bond issues and mill levy increases over the years to help support the development of South Suburban.
Lorenz was an early pioneer in developing a fees and charges policy for parks and recreation departments by increasing revenues from participants rather than relying on property taxes. He developed many facilities through the issue of revenue bonds or certificates of participation.
He is credited with helping forge close communications with the cities within the District and Arapahoe County, helping the District enter into joint development agreements with cities to fund park, open space and trail improvements within their jurisdictions and encouraged cities to share their direct Shareback dollars from Arapahoe County Open Space Program.
He helped craft agreements with the City of Lone Tree for development of new tennis courts, a picnic pavilion and playground at Lone Tree Golf Course and the replacement of Cook Creek Pool, which the City paid for, but South Suburban operates and manages on District property.
Lorenz worked with the City of Littleton on a number of projects, including the development of South Platte Park and Carson Nature Center, Douglas H. Buck Community Center and several new open space properties along the South Platte River, including Oxbow, Creekside Experience, Lee Gulch Overlook and Reynold’s Landing.
The District has partnered with the City of Centennial on a number of jointly funded projects including the Centennial Link Trail, Willow Creek Trail, renovation of Holly Tennis Center and Holly Pool, upgrades at Arapahoe Park and Homestead Elementary Park and the rebuilding of the Walnut Hills Tennis Courts.
When Lorenz retires on March 31, he will have dedicated nearly 50 years to South Suburban. He credits his longevity with the District to his passion for parks and recreation, enjoyment of providing programs and recreational opportunities for patrons, and working with a talented and dedicated staff.
An avid sports enthusiast, don’t expect him to retire his running shoes, golf clubs or tennis racket, now he’ll have more time to enjoy all that South Suburban has to offer.