The Licking Park District is ready to extend an offer to a new director.

The Licking Park District is ready to extend an offer to a new director.

The position has been vacant since Russ Edgington resigned in March 2011.

Steve Holloway, chairman of the district board of commissioners, said the board voted 4-0 Feb. 22 to extend an offer to Robert Williams, currently assistant director of Chester County Parks and Recreation in Pennsylvania.

"He still has to accept the offer," Holloway said.

Holloway said Williams works in the "heart of horse country," which helps to make him a perfect fit for the Licking Park District's horse trails.

Also, Holloway said, Williams is familiar with the types of programs the Licking Park District offers. Most of the other candidates -- six were interviewed -- were from more-urban areas.

"This isn't a huge culture shock for him," said Holloway, who expects that Williams could hit the ground running if he accepts the offer. "I'm sure he has ideas and ways to do things better."

Holloway said the offer did not yet include a salary, but he expects Williams, should he accept, to earn between $60,000 and $65,000 per year.

"It'll be no secret," Holloway said.

He said Williams also would be subject to routine background checks and other standard screening procedures.

"The director is the most important decision we can make at this point," Holloway said. "(The director) is the face of the park."

The parks district is working to bring its programs back on line after voters approved a five-year, 0.25-mill levy last year.

The levy request was rejected in both May and November 2010, creating a financial hardship whereby the district's 13 parks and 42 miles of trails fell into disrepair from lack of maintenance and all programs and events were canceled.

Since then, the district experienced many changes to its board, including expanding from three to five members.

Holloway said the district is back on track to fulfill its five-year plan since the levy passed and the Paws2Play Community Dog Park is slated to open at Infirmary Mound Park near Granville in May, according to the dog park's website.