Monroe County Parks Department director Larry Staub won't join the County Legislature after all.
Earlier this month, Legislature President Jeff Adair appointed Staub to fill a vacant Perinton-based seat in the Legislature. Staub's appointment was supposed to be effective today. But yesterday, Staub sent a letter to Adair declining the job and Adair withdrew the appointment.
"After serious reflection and heartfelt conversations with my family and friends, I have reached the conclusion that I am just not ready to leave the Monroe County Department of Parks," Staub wrote. "The reward and satisfaction that I feel at the end of each day's work is too special to give up, at this time in my life."
Staub goes on to say that the department faces several challenges and opportunities in the near future, such as transitioning municipal golf courses to county operations. The county currently contracts out the maintenance and operations of its golf courses to Jack Tindale, Inc. But both parties have agreed to terminate the contract; the decision came after years of complaints about course maintenance and a decision by the state Comptroller's Office to audit the contract.
But Staub's letter mentions a couple of other parks initiatives that might grab attention: developing new master and strategic plans for the Seneca Park Zoo, and planning improvements at several parks, including Powder Mills and Mendon Ponds.
Plans to grow the Seneca Park Zoo have, in the past, been controversial, particularly a proposal that would have extended the zoo into a historic part of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park. That doesn't mean that the county has similar plans now, but the idea of a new master plan may grab the attention of local preservationists.
County officials began putting together a master plan for Powder Mills Park in 2009, but the expected completion date changed a few times. The plan is still not finished.
During the early stages of planning, environmentalists and parks advocates pushed for Powder Mills to stay as natural as possible, allowing only low-impact uses such as hiking, fishing, and observing nature. The park contains sensitive environments that could be easily damaged, they said. But a group of off-road cyclists has asked the county to include multi-use trails as part of the plan.
Adair has appointed Perinton Republican Dorothy Styk to the Legislature seat that Staub was set to assume. Styk worked for years in corporate and public accounting, but is currently a library secretary at Brighton High School, says a press release from Legislature Republicans.