In a special board meeting held April 13, the Bloomingdale Park District announced Joe Potts as its new executive director. Potts has served as Bloomingdale Park District’s director of parks and planning since 2012.
“I am very grateful to the Bloomingdale Park District Board of Commissioners for entrusting me with this great challenge and opportunity,” said Potts. “We are immediately faced with unprecedented challenges related to the health and safety of our Park District patrons. Our board and staff are capable and ready to lead our community with traditional recreation services as soon as we are able to safely and responsibly do so.”
Joe has over 27 years of combined experience working for Illinois park districts and non-profit organizations in North Carolina.
Prior to Bloomingdale, Potts worked at Blue Ridge Conservancy in Boone, N.C., serving in roles of director of development and communications (2011-2012) and deputy director of land protection (2008-2011). His responsibilities and achievements included managing and implementing a comprehensive development program to supplant diminishing public funding for land protection in North Carolina, developing and maintaining donor relationships, organizing fundraising events, fostering mutually beneficial relationships with local officials and producing and managing all publicity. Additionally, Potts specialized in creating successful grant proposals with totals in excess of $2 million for support of donated conservation easements and purchase of lands.
Potts was born into a life of parks and recreation, starting at the age of 14 through college at the Peoria Park District in his hometown of Peoria, where his parents still live. His father, John C. Potts, is a legend in the field who served as superintendent of parks and planning at Peoria Park District and executive director of Champaign County Forest Preserve District. John C. Potts was later selected as an American Academy for Park & Recreation Fellow and held positions on the boards of the National Society of Park Resources and the American Academy Foundation.
Joe Potts earned his bachelor’s degree in management at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in 1992. He first post-graduate job was as the assistant superintendent of parks at Oak Lawn Park District (1993-95) before becoming the superintendent of operations at Urbana Park District in 1995. At Urbana, Potts supervised 20+ full-time employees in maintenance operations of 23 parks sites consisting of 500+ acres, an interpretive nature center, a community recreation center, a historic administrative building, an operations facility and two aquatic facilities (one indoor, one outdoor). During this time, Potts also achieved his master’s degree in leisure studies at the University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana.
In 2003, Potts accepted a position as executive director at Alleghany Wellness Center in Sparta, N.C., where he managed contractors and architects during the planning and construction of the center. Providing leadership to a small community with some of the worst health statistics in North Carolina, Potts helped the community realize its dream of a successful and effective wellness center.
In his eight years as director of parks and planning in Bloomingdale, Potts’ list of achievements is long and impressive as he oversaw the following:
- Accessible renovation of Sunnyside Park (2013)
- Replacement of tennis courts at Lakeview Park (2014)
- Renovation of Seasons Four Park playground area (2015)
- Replacement of tennis courts at Stratford Park (2015)
- Creation of 23 garden plots at Springfield Park (2015)
- Replacement of playground structures and incorporation of interpretive signage at Tompkins Park (2016)
- Renovation of Circle Park, including new playground structures, fitness stations, picnic shelter, skate spot, renovated hockey rink and interpretive nature signage (2016-2018)
- Incorporation of six raised garden bed plots added to Community & Giving Gardens at Springfield Park (2017)
- Improvements related to the successful $9.9 million referendum passed in 2016
- Complete renovation of Springfield Park Ballfield Complex (2018)
- Updated and improved Oasis Water Park (2019)
- Total renovation of Johnston Recreation Center (2019)
“I am excited to begin tackling our immediate challenges and working with our strong board and staff to resume providing services for Bloomingdale, however that may look in the future,” said Potts. “We have a strong team and we are ready for these new challenges. Bloomingdale is a strong and wonderful community which we are honored to serve.”
Joe resides in Itasca with his wife, Dr. Lori Potts, a doctor of veterinary medicine, and two children: Lily, age 11, and John, age 5.