New C.F. Parks Di­rec­tor Tracey Giron is first woman to lead her de­part­ment

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JONATHAN BIS­SON­NETTE jbis­son­nette@paw­tuck­et­

CEN­TRAL FALLS – The first fe­male head of the city’s Parks and Re­cre­ation De­part­ment, Tracey Giron is not timid about tak­ing on new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“I think that’s some­thing I feel re­ally proud about. It speaks vol­umes … I feel like it shows as long as you’re ded­i­cated, you can re­ally do any­thing,” Giron said.

Ded­i­ca­tion is some­thing that Giron has dis­played at City Hall over the last four years, as she’s el­e­vated from be­ing hired as an un­paid in­tern in the Re­cre­ation De­part­ment to be­ing named parks and re­cre­ation di­rec­tor.

Giron was ap­pointed to the po­si­tion by Mayor James A. Diossa and her ap­point­ment was ap­proved unan­i­mously by the City Coun­cil ear­lier this week. She’s been the act­ing de­part­ment di­rec­tor since the end of July, when for­mer Parks and Re­cre­ation di­rec­tor Rob Sayre-McCord was ter­mi­nated for what sources de­scribed as “al­le­ga­tions of mis­man­age­ment of the de­part­ment.”

Four years ago, in Septem­ber 2014, Giron was work­ing in re­tail but wanted some­thing more. She’d al­ways had an in­ter­est in so­cial work and was told by a friend to go to the State House and in­quire about po­ten­tial in­tern­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties. Af­ter ex­press­ing that she was a Cen­tral Falls na­tive, Giron was re­ferred to Diossa, who re­ferred her to then-Parks and Re­cre­ation di­rec­tor, and cur­rent Chief of Staff, Joshua Gi­raldo.

“I re­mem­ber at that point I’d never been in­volved with the

com­mu­nity, I didn’t know a thing about parks or field main­te­nance, but I said I’d give it a shot,” Giron re­called. “They thought I had a spark in me and it was a good op­por­tu­nity.”

“Three weeks in and I was pick­ing up on ev­ery­thing rel­a­tively fast. I en­joyed the com­mu­nity work, the first event was the Car Show, that’s where it all started,” she con­tin­ued. “I en­joyed the in­ter­ac­tions with fam­i­lies, con­nec­tion with youths. One thing led to an­other, I started

get­ting more in­volved, they ex­tended the three-month in­tern­ship, and I was pro­moted to the Re­cre­ation Co­or­di­na­tor po­si­tion the fol­low­ing year.”

Dur­ing her time as Re­cre­ation Co­or­di­na­tor, Giron was re­spon­si­ble for trans­form­ing the Parks and Re­cre­ation De­part­ment by or­ga­niz­ing com­plex pro­gram­ming through­out the sum­mer months and help­ing to more than dou­ble the city’s af­ter-school and sum­mer op­por­tu­ni­ties, city of­fi­cials said. She’s also taken the lead in co­or­di­nat­ing the Car Show and Salsa Nights, both of which have at­tracted thou­sands of at­ten­dees to Cen­tral Falls.

“My fa­vorite part of the job is the con­nec­tion with the fam­i­lies and youths...” Giron said. “Pre­par­ing for events is all fun, but see­ing that I have an im­pact in my com­mu­nity, that’s the part I en­joy the most at this job.”

Giron, 25, will be paid a salary of $55,000.

“It is a pri­or­ity to me to em­power and fos­ter homegrown lead­er­ship here in Cen­tral Falls,” Diossa said in an emailed state­ment on Fri­day. “Our Chief of Staff Joshua Gi­raldo, City Clerk So­nia Grace, and Fire Chief Bob Bradley are all ex­am­ples of in­di­vid­u­als who were raised in Cen­tral Falls and are now work­ing in lead­er­ship po­si­tions for the city.”

“We are very proud and thank­ful to have an­other suc­cess story as part of our team. She is join­ing a boom­ing en­vi­ron­ment for fe­male lead­er­ship and is paving the way for a new era of youth in­volve­ment in our city,” the mayor said.

Giron is re­spon­si­ble for youth in­volve­ment in the city and said she is hop­ing to con­tinue those ef­forts when vot­ers

de­cide on fund­ing a com­mu­nity cen­ter in the city. The city is re­quest­ing bond fund­ing of up to $1 mil­lion from vot­ers next month to re­open the Ralph J. Holden Com­mu­nity Cen­ter.

“Hav­ing a com­mu­nity cen­ter … Grow­ing up I know the value, it was the heart of the city,” Giron re­called of the cen­ter. “See­ing that up and op­er­at­ing would be an ideal goal and to con­tinue the pro­grams and events we have, ex­pand­ing for a larger at­ten­dance.”

Giron also said one of her top pri­or­i­ties would be to get the city fields back up and op­er­a­tional, as Ma­comber Sta­dium has been closed due to con­tam­i­nants in the field.

“My ul­ti­mate goal is that I want to see the fields up and run­ning, so the (Cen­tral Falls High School) War­riors have a home field,” she said.

Over the past five years, the city used $1 mil­lion to ren­o­vate Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Park, which in­cludes a splash pad; and to build Gov­er­nor Lin­coln Al­mond Park – a oneacre fit­ness park with sta­teof-the-art play­ground and ex­er­cise equip­ment in­clud­ing a walk­ing path. The city is look­ing to sup­port Parks and Re­cre­ation even fur­ther by cre­at­ing a com­mu­nity cen­ter and ren­o­vat­ing Jenks Park, city of­fi­cials said.

Photo by Jonathan Bis­son­nette

Tracey Giron, right, stands with Cen­tral Falls Mayor James Diossa af­ter re­cently be­ing ap­pointed as the city’s di­rec­tor of parks and re­cre­ation.

Photo by Jonathan Bis­son­nette

Tracey Giron, 25, works in her of­fice at Cen­tral Falls City Hall on Fri­day. Giron started as an un­paid in­tern in the de­part­ment four years ago.

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