Robert Peters says his new job as administrator for Prairie Township is “exactly what I was looking for.”

His first day will be Jan. 7. He succeeds Tracy Hatmaker, who retired at the end of November.

Peters, 49, is currently the economic development director for Streetsboro, a city of more than 16,000 people northwest of Akron.

He will earn a base salary of $115,000 annually. His contract includes five weeks of vacation a year, retirement and insurance benefits, and a $500 monthly car allowance, trustee Chairman Steve Kennedy said.

“I like the fact that it’s in the greater Columbus metropolitan area,” he said of the Prairie Township post. “There are positive indicators that let me know this is a community that values investing in its future.

“What sealed the deal for me was the commitment and the longevity of the department heads and the longevity of the trustees. That lets me know that they’re invested and committed to furthering the township.”

Among the projects that Peters expects to tackle first are planned Interstate 270 beautification efforts at West Broad Street, work on the sports complex and continuing to work with community partners on the township’s water and sewer rates.

“I look forward to working with the trustees and staff to provide the best services possible to the residents and businesses of Prairie Township,” he said.

Peters said he has worked in public service in some form since he “was a junior in high school.” He has experience in the areas of parks and recreation and economic development.

Prairie Township’s growing recreation program also was a selling point, he said, noting plans to open the first phase of the township’s 111-acre sports complex on Galloway Road next year.

Early in his career, Peters spent seven years as a parks manager with Summit (County) Metro Parks, which included serving as a commissioned peace officer.

His career includes more than six years as assistant director of public service for the city of Wadsworth, Ohio, before he returned to Summit County as chief of operations for its parks department from 2010 until 2016.

Another selling point for Prairie Township, he said, is the “support that the fire department gets from the community.”

Township voters approved a 3.61-mill permanent fire levy in May. It is expected to cost $126.35 per every $100,000 of home value and will be collected beginning next year. It’s expected to generate about $1.1 million per year.

Peters lives in Wadsworth, Ohio. He plans to move to central Ohio after the first of the year.

He earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Akron and is a U.S. Army veteran. He also holds professional certifications in economic development, finance and in parks and recreation.

The township paid Cincinnati-based Novak Consulting $25,000 to lead a nationwide search for its next administrator.

Peters was chosen from a pool of 57 candidates, Kennedy said.