"It has been a good 33-plus years with Dave Spurgin."
That comment was verbalized by Wayne King, who has been a member of the Estherville Parks & Recreation Board for the past 44 years.
King recalled that Dave was just out of college when he was hired by the City on Sept. 25, 1978.
Estherville Parks and Recreation Director Dave Spurgin and city employee Pete Redinius back in the day.
"We had several applicants, but what impressed us the most was his response to the question on what he expected to be paid. Spurgin's answer, "Whatever you can afford to pay me."
King said that at one time, the city had a parks department and a recreation department. "They were combined in 1977 and in 1978 when Dave was hired. It was quite a responsibility for a young man right out of college."
According to the board chairman, Spurgin faced a lot of pressure starting new programs. "He gave it his all to satisfy the public, the City Council and the Parks & Rec Board."
Dave Spurgin's Retirement Coffee will be held in City Council Chambers on Friday, April 27 from 3-4 p.m. The public is cordially invited.
King reminded too that 33 years ago, the P & R department had a small budget. "It was quite an undertaking to get it all done."
It was in 1985 a challenge presented itself to the Park & Rec Department as a new bathhouse was sorely needed at the city pool. "The former one was in bad shape."
To compound the situation, it was about that same time Morrell's closed the plant here in Estherville, causing financial problems. "Despite all of this, we managed to pull it off, with help from the City," King said.
Spurgin is credited for having the vision for park improvements and it is because of his leadership that every point of the plan was accomplished. This includes new trees, trails and playground equipment.
"The Parks & Rec board has a continual five-year plan and the Parks & Rec Department always seems to accomplish our goal as it is well organized," King noted.
Due to Spurgin's guidance as well as the use of estate gifts, Thoreson Park was accomplished. The Sanborn Shelter and Stow playground equipment were installed to create a welcoming atmosphere attracting city residents and visitors from all over the Great Lakes area.
Other wonderful additions to the Parks & Rec sites involve the completion of three ball diamonds at Thoreson Park, new tennis courts on South 15th Street, the skate park and walking trail.
"Lincoln Park is quite an addition!" King commented. "This was made possible with the help of Excel! Estherville funds, city donation and volunteered labor from our own generous community with Dave's direction."
King took a moment to peek into the future. "Now we are looking forward to the new pavilion in our near future. This will certainly be another gem near the ball diamonds."
The board chair concluded his comments by saying, "As a board member I can say Dave was excellent to work with. He always listened to our ideas as we with his. I want to wish him the best in whatever his future brings. It has been a good run with lots of good memories."