One of the rec director’s main duties will be renovating Tassel Top Park to add walking trails and a playground. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

RAYMOND — As part of a “brand-new initiative,” Raymond is hiring a recreation director, a position that has never before existed in town.

Among other responsibilities, the director will remodel the town’s popular Tassel Top Park on Sebago Lake.

Raymond currently relies exclusively on volunteers to run its recreation programs.

Town Manager Don Willard said he first proposed creating a rec director position 15 years ago, but the timing wasn’t right. Since then, he said, people have gotten busier and “the demand on people” has increased.

It’s expecting an awful lot of volunteers to try to run such a program,” he said. “I frankly don’t know how we managed to get this far.” 

Public Works Director Nathan White recently proposed adding the new position again, and this time, it stuck.

“Volunteers are getting thinner and thinner,” White said. “There was a need for more support from the town for volunteers and these programs.”

He hopes that the new person will help organize the rec department, build new summer programs and create “even a small portion” of what he sees surrounding towns, like Standish, doing with their parks and recreation departments. 

In addition to working on the park, the director will help support volunteers and coordinate programs with nearby towns. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

Willard said that in creating this position, the town does not “mean to eliminate that strong ethic and spirit of volunteerism.” However, he said, “we do hear from our volunteers about the time commitment and the difficulty in doing the job.” He hopes that the new rec director will help ease that burden. 

He said the new rec director will support volunteers to help with programming and scheduling and will also work collaboratively with neighboring towns on other opportunities.

Selectboard member Teresa Sadak said the new director will also work on revamping Tassel Top Park, including adding walking trails, a playground and more picnic tables. She hopes the director will work with Age-Friendly Raymond and the Raymond Village Library as well to develop programs.

It’s a big step for us, and it’s a step for the community,” she said. “I’m so excited about it.”

The Selectboard has approved the position, but the parks and recreation department’s budget has not yet been finalized. Willard said he was not ready to talk about the salary for the position.

As of Dec. 17, the town had received seven applicants for the position. The deadline to apply was scheduled to be Friday, Dec. 27.

Sadak said residents are very excited about the new position, even though “we are a really conservative town, and we’re trying to add things in town without raising people’s taxes.”

Although Raymond is “a little bit late to the party when it comes to town-supported recreation,” since “it’s been the norm” in surrounding towns for quite some time, Willard said that the creation of the new position is “possibly a new chapter for the town.” 

Volunteer Sarah Davis did not return requests for comment.

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