A visit with. . .5-21 (Ron Bastian, photo to go with this)

Ron Bastian is the new Director of Parks and Recreation in Rochester, assuming the job April 1 after the retirement of Roy Sutherland.

Bastian, 56 and a Rochester native, has been working with Park and Recreation departments since age 14, when he began as a playground supervisor, skate guard and summer maintenance crew member. Bastian held numerous other jobs with the department after graduating from Mankato State in 1973. Among them were supervisor of parks maintenance, evening supervisor at Graham Arena and director of sports facilities.

Post-Bulletin: Your background with Rochester Park and Recreation is vast. How well did that prepare you in becoming its director?

Bastian: I grew up here and have been a park user and participant all my life. I played youth sports as a kid, softball for 30 years, umpired for 10, coached youth hockey, baseball and football. I grew up caddying at the golf courses, playing golf for free on Mondays, which was caddie’s day. Somehow I ended up on the summer park maintenance crew during my college years and when it came time to declare a college major, it only seemed natural that I would major in something that I loved.

Post-Bulletin: What drew you to this kind of work in the first place?


Bastian: My love of sports and the outdoors.

Post-Bulletin: Roy Sutherland held your current position for 17 years. What stamp did he put on the job?

Bastian: During Roy’s tenure as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation our department flourished. Our park land doubled in acres, new facilities were added, improved and expanded. The list of accomplishments is long, but Roy’s biggest contribution to the City of Rochester Parks and Recreation Departments was his never-ending enthusiasm. He created partnerships with other governmental agencies and the private sector to help stretch tax dollars. He loves this town and was very passionate about this department.

Post-Bulletin: What do you hope will be your legacy?

Bastian: Kind of like the doctor’s oath. First do no harm. I hope my legacy will be that; we did things right the first time, we maintained what we have before we build new, and we involve the citizens in making good decisions for our community.

Post-Bulletin: Tell us something that has surprised you about these first two months on the job?

Bastian: When you sit in the big office back in the corner, you get a lot less visitors than when you sit out front.

Pat Ruff


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