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Park board hires new parks and rec director

Former Rocket will take over for long-time leader

ROCK FALLS – The Coloma Township Park District's new director of parks and recreation is stepping out of his high-top sneakers into some pretty big shoes.

The park district voted to hire Jedidiah Johnson, 38, of Rock Falls to take over for Mike Sterba, the much-admired director who’s retiring from the position after 44 years.

Johnson might be familiar to local sports fans. He was a senior guard on the Rock Falls High School basketball team that beat Waterloo Gibault for the school’s 1999 state basketball win.

Sterba said Johnson was one of four finalists for the position, and his education and experience helped seal the deal for the district. Johnson has a masters degree in sports management, and spent time as the assistant men's basketball coach and head women's basketball coach at Sauk Valley Community College. He’s also worked at Rock Falls High School and Spectrum Brands.

Pending a successful background check, Johnson will take over for Sterba, who’s staying on through August. His starting salary will be $42,500 per year plus benefits.

Though Sterba’s retiring to spend more time with family, he said in April that he planned to help out through the fall to finish up a few projects in the district.

New shelter

The board approved the 2018-19 budget and appropriation ordinance. Sterba said expenditures are projected at $1.26 million, with $1.1 million in revenue and about $627,000 cash on hand.

"Last year, we had $1.185 million in expenditures and about $897,500 in revenue. We had $685,000 cash on hand," Sterba said.

The park district does one capital project each year. This year's will be a new shelter at Centennial Park, at an estimated cost of $100,000.

The board voted to let bids for the 30-foot-by-54-foot shelter, which will be slightly bigger, but otherwise similar, to the park’s Heide Shelter.

"We wanted to add a few more picnic tables," Sterba said of bigger shelter.

Bid specifications should be ready next week, with a bid opening on July 17. The district plans to begin work on Aug. 1 and have it completed by Oct. 15.


The Park Board next meets at 6 p.m. July 10 at the Coloma Township Park District Office, 508 E. 11th St., Rock Falls.

Call the office at 815-625-0272 for an agenda.

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