After spending nine years keeping Mancos parks maintained, Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Hopkins is moving on.
Hopkins’ last day on the job will be April 6, after which she is moving to Arizona to be closer to family. She said Mancos had become her home over the last 17 years, and the decision to leave was tough.
“This is heartbreaking for me,” Hopkins said. “It’s bittersweet.”
When she started working fulltime for the town in 2007, she was the first parks and recreation director for Mancos, Hopkins said. Before 2007, town public works employees did what they could to keep the parks going.
Mancos has ramped up its development of outdoor spaces in the last few years, Hopkins said. “All the parks responsibilities have grown,” she said. “I’m very proud of our parks.”
Hopkins said she has enjoyed creating outdoor places for families and visitors to enjoy the town of Mancos.
One of Hopkins’ favorite projects in her time in the position was getting Boyle Park up and running. The park is directly behind town hall in downtown Mancos and features a playground.
“Boyle Park is my baby,” Hopkins said.
Cottonwood Park, along the Mancos River, has kept up, but there’s still some work to be done at that park, Hopkins said. Trails in that park are scheduled to be upgraded depending on grant funding, she said.
Keeping the Mancos skate park up and running has been a big project, Hopkins said. The skate park has been in Mancos for about seven years, she said.
Most of the parks in Mancos are south of U.S. Highway 160, but some developments north of the highway have parks, too. The Angelwood housing development has a trail, and the Creekside subdivision has a walking trail, Hopkins said.
The Mancos parks department has picked up some new equipment including a commercial mower, and added structures at some of the parks, Hopkins said. Smaller projects, like beautifying the town with wine barrels and landscaping, add up to make a big difference in the town, she said.
Though the decision to leave was difficult, Hopkins said she will be back to visit. She has grown to love the small-town atmosphere in the last 17 years, she said.
“If anybody needs anything in a small town it’s a phone call away,” Hopkins said. “There’s always help. We have a great staff. We’re like family.”