Amy Markle named new Recreation Services Department director
During the Richfield City Council’s March 12 meeting, the council unanimously voted to ratify the selection of Amy Markle as the new Recreation Services Department director.
Markle’s recreation experience spans more than two decades where she has worked at the federal, state and local levels of government. For the past 15 years, Markle has been a program coordinator at Richfield’s Wood Lake Nature Center.
"Richfield is a changing, dynamic community,” explained Markle. “I want to help make sure the city’s parks and recreation programming meet the needs of the community.”
As a naturalist at the Wood Lake Nature Center, Markle has worked with hundreds of Richfield families and thousands of students over the years. She has also directed the popular Urban Wildland Half Marathon and 5K race that takes place every summer.
“I am confident that Amy Markle is the right person at the right time to lead Recreation Services,” stated city manager Katie Rodriguez. “As a program coordinator at the Wood Lake Nature Center for the last 15 years, she has an in-depth knowledge of Richfield’s history, current demographics, policies, and park system.”
Markle acknowledges that the Recreation Services Department is in a good place and aims to capitalize on its popular program offerings.
“The staff working for Recreation Services is incredibly knowledgeable, talented and creative,” said Markle. “Staff members are not afraid to try new things or consider repurposing existing spaces for different activities.”
One of Markle’s first priorities is to focus on community engagement.
“I want Richfield residents to drive the initiatives undertaken by the Recreation Services Department,” remarked Markle. “As a department, we are here to serve the people of Richfield. These are their parks and programs. We need to make sure they meet their needs.”
Markle also aims to make recreational programming and park spaces more inclusive.
“As a city, we need to make sure that our parks are universally inclusive. Whether a child needs an accommodation to participate in a sport or residents are looking for more wellness opportunities, we need something for everyone.”
Prior to coming to Richfield, Markle worked for the U.S. National Park Service as a park ranger at the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway where she taught educational programming, conducted resource management and promoted wildland fire safety.
Early in her career, she also worked at both Minnesota and Colorado state parks.
Markle succeeds Jim Topitzhofer, who shepherded the Recreation Services Department for 20 years and retired in December 2018.