Acting no more

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Acting no more

Torres to head Summit Parks; Tala steps up in Lyons

Steve Metsch

After two years, Frank Torres can remove the “acting” from his title and replace it with “executive.”

Torres has been hired as the executive director of the Summit Park District. Board members made it official with a unanimous vote on Sept. 12.

As a result, his becoming executive director in Summit has a direct effect on Lyons. Torres had been part-time director of the Lyons Park and Recreation Department since 2015, the year he assumed the acting director’s job in Summit.

In his place, Ted Tala, Torres’ deputy director in Lyons since May, has been named acting director of that department.

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Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty announced the changes at the Sept. 19 meeting of the village board’s finance committee. He thanked Torres for his years of service, and wished him well, adding that Tala is an excellent replacement.

At a recent event held at Summit Park, Torres, who lives in Countryside, said he’s excited to be named head of the Summit Park District.

“I’m very happy, very humbled for the board (members) to put their faith in me and make me full time,” said Torres who will earn $75,000 per year for his three-year contract.

Park Commissioner Tony Cervantes said Torres “has done a good job” in Summit. “I think it’s a good idea to have him here full time. It’s good for the community. The parks look a lot better than from years before thanks to Frank.”

Torres enjoyed his time in Lyons. “I learned a lot and I want to thank Mayor (Christopher) Getty for putting his faith in me back in 2012.”

Torres was full-time director of the parks and recreation department in Lyons from 2012 until 2015, when he went part time, doing both jobs in Lyons and Summit. Torres’ ties with Summit date from when some park board commissioners attended recreation events he had organized in Lyons, and liked what they saw.

During the finance committee meeting, Lyons Village Manager Tom Sheahan said Tala “has a strong background working with park districts.”

Getty said Tala did well running Lyons’ summer camp this year. Tala had worked for Brookfield’s summer camp for 10 years, and for the Normal Park District while a student at Illinois State University.

“Pretty much, his whole resume is parks and recreation. He was a natural,” Getty said.

Tala is “excited to hit the ground running.”

Tala is reviewing what has and has not worked in other municipalities. “Some things have jumped out at me, from seniors to toddlers,” Tala said Sept. 26 in his village hall office that overlooks Veterans Park.

One possibility is a movie night for kids at the village hall’s community room, he said. Another is an after-school study group, perhaps asking high school students to tutor elementary school students, he said.

Tala, 29, resides in Brookfield and enjoyed working with Torres.

“Frank showed me the ropes. He had me tag along to meetings, along with teaching me how to plan events like the Fourth of July and our Father’s Day car show,” Tala said.

Tala has one year left in his college education after leaving Illinois State to work in construction, as a gymnastics instructor at Flying High in Countryside, and with the summer camp in Brookfield.

Desplaines Valley News

Steve Metsch

Steve Metsch is an award winning veteran reporter who previously worked for the Daily Southtown Newspapers, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Metsch is a writer and editor at the Southwest News Newspaper group based in suburban Chicago, and a freelance writer for a financial newsletter, a health magazine and the Naperville Sun.
Email Steve Metsch at sm4610@sbcglobal.net
Steve Metsch

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