Lenexa City Manager Beccy Yocham recently named long-time staff member Logan Wagler as the city’s next parks and recreation director.
Wagler, who recently served as deputy director, replaces Gary Ristow, who is retiring after 12 years working with the city. The Lenexa City Council celebrated Ristow’s contributions to the city at a recent council meeting.
Wagler’s first day was Nov. 30.
“From a personal standpoint, this is like a dream come true,” Wagler said. “I had a lot of experience within parks and recreation as a kid, all the way through college and around sports. I almost felt like it was a calling.”
A growing parks and rec department
While serving the Lenexa Parks and Recreation Department for the past 12 years Wagler has watched the department grow from a small staff of about 45 to more than 300 employees. He saw the addition of the Lenexa Rec Center in Lenexa City Center as well as several projects funded by a 3/8-cent sales tax for parks and recreation.
Wagler thanked Ristow for his guidance and mentorship.
He said he is most proud of the city’s reinvestment in aging parks, shelters and playgrounds. One of Wagler’s favorite places is Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, which features the seasonal holiday lights each winter.
“I love taking something that’s — I wouldn’t call it old — but maybe a little tired, in some of our parks, and reinvest in those, and really transforming and breathing new life into that park,” Wagler said. “It becomes an even stronger amenity, but in a lot of ways, it breathes life into the entire surrounding area of the community.”
Plans for the future
In his new role, Wagler plans to focus on further activating the community and building engagement opportunities, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city is also working through a public engagement process on its outdoor aquatics study and working toward an update on its parks master plan, which was last completed in 2012. The city is also looking toward reinvesting in the Lenexa community and senior centers in Old Town.
Wagler says he is also looking forward to bringing back all of the festivals and events after the pandemic, pointing out that Lenexa is known as the “City of Festivals.”