Cottage Grove's new park and recreation director knows the job wellFor the city of Cottage Grove’s Zac Dockter — raised in Cottage Grove, a Park High School graduate — even the thought of pulling up stakes for another job in another town was a difficult one.
For the city of Cottage Grove’s Zac Dockter — raised in Cottage Grove, a Park High School graduate — even the thought of pulling up stakes for another job in another town was a difficult one.
“I love the community,” said Dockter, Cottage Grove’s park and recreation director who graduated from Park in 1995 and lives in the city with his family. “It was a hard decision to even apply to leave.”
But there Dockter was last month, with an offer in hand from the city of Elk River and a decision to make. Dockter elected to stay — and got a promotion to boot.
While he had been the city’s de-facto parks director for almost a decade, Dockter, officially at least, wasn’t a department head. He was the city’s ice arena manager and parks and recreation manager.
Now, the city has named him to fill the long-vacant parks director post. Mayor Myron Bailey said recently the city had planned on filling the position anyway; promoting Dockter, he said, made sense.
“We’re basically paying him for the job he’s been doing,” Bailey said.
Dockter said his job won’t change much, but he’ll assume a larger leadership role in planning the future of Cottage Grove’s more than 1,000 acres of parks and open spaces. Previously, Dockter said he primarily managed parks projects and maintenance.
“Being invested in this community and this organization already was a strong point in staying,” Dockter said.
Bailey lauded Dockter’s management of the Cottage Grove Ice Arena, which under his watch added a third sheet of ice and underwent a major upgrade. Dockter’s ties to the community and his decade of helping to improve and expand the city’s park system were too valuable to let go, Bailey said.
“He’s one of those kind of people you want to be part of your community,” Bailey said.