KINGMAN – Kristin Zimmerman handles multiple requests from Mohave County Parks. For the past 2 years, she served as Mohave County Parks Administrator, reporting directly to Director of Public Works, Steve Latoski. Three well-known entities she oversees are Davis Camp, Hualapai Mountain Park, and Mohave County Fairgrounds, and more. It’s a big job with over 20 employees working with it, as well as many volunteers. She also manages and makes a concerted effort to manage Chloride Park, Neal Butler Park, Mt. Tipton Park, Veterans Park, and ERACE, the vital program that addresses the current problem of illegal landfills in the county.
Zimmerman says she has always been a lover of parks and recreation. As a child in Iowa City, Iowa, she spent many vacations visiting national and state park sites and participating in various sporting events. She has spent many hours in local parks and trails in her community. She started out as a lifeguard and rock climbing instructor with the YMCA before moving to West Virginia as a junior ranger with the National Park Service at Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park.
In Independence, Missouri, Zimmerman spent 12 years of his life working for the city and led the city’s sports, water sports and inclusion division.
She says that around this time she raised $2.5 million to build McCoy Park. It’s an incredible sum and quite an accomplishment. The park has been specially designed for people with special needs (playgrounds, paddling pools and baseball field). She also managed the local municipal water park.
Before coming to Mohave County and after leaving Independence, Zimmerman spent 18 months working for the small, rural Calvert County, Maryland, in Prince Frederick. (Bestselling spy novel author Tom Clancy operated an insurance business in Prince Frederick prior to his literary career.) A job offer in Mohave County received notice from Zimmerman and apply and getting the parks job drove her west to Arizona.
Zimmerman speaks enthusiastically about the county’s near future. A new playground should see the light of day soon at Chloride Park. Additionally, Mt. Tipton Park in Dolan Springs will receive a new playground in the upcoming fiscal year (completed in 2023), and design and planning will begin soon for a new skate and bike park at Neal Butler. Park at Kingman.
There is good work going on at Hualapai Mountain Park as the largest healthy forest project the park has ever seen is currently underway and planning stages are beginning for the addition of bike paths.
At Camp Davis in Bullhead City, several projects are underway, including a new playground, boat launch, and redesign of the dock, restrooms, and shower stalls.
Zimmerman said, “We plan to officially open the Arizona Heritage Trail in September with the Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service and the City of Bullhead.” She said she “is proud of all the parks team can accomplish because Mohave County Parks is self-sustaining; meaning that entrance fees collected are donated to each park to make further improvements and Parks does not receive any taxes from Mohave County to maintain or operate any of the local community parks and state parks.
It is a tall order to continue to operate successfully, a challenge that perhaps no other county in the state is attempting.
Zimmerman is currently Chairman of the National Recreation and Park Association’s Aquatic Council. It provides oversight and direction to all municipal and public swimming pools, water parks and beaches across the country. Her current schedule is very busy with the upcoming Mohave County Fair on September 15-18. All eyes have been on the county in this endeavor since the county took over the Fairgrounds from the Fair Association this year.
Discussions about a new location are in the air, and an assessment of the needs of the exhibition center is a subject of discussion on the agenda of the supervisory board on Monday July 18.
But, for now, the focus is on improving the current site near Interstate 40 and Stockton Hill Road in Kingman. The theme for the 2022 fair is “Let the Good Times Roll” and Zimmerman and his team appear to be well prepared as they gear up for the event with a varied entertainment program and several exciting new upgrades.
She is confident in her abilities and is not new to the subject as she points out: “I have already operated large event sites in my career. Zimmerman said she looks forward to continued progress in her department and said “the county is getting really good value in our department.” She said she worked with an amazing team, emphasizing that she personally didn’t care about the money she made and it wasn’t important. Making progress is the daily goal and there is no doubt about it.
(This is part of a series of county employee profiles by Mohave County Communications.)