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New Cranberry Township parks and recreation director settles into post

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted | Cranberry Journal
As spring arrives, new Cranberry parks and recreation director Pete Geis is looking forward to coordinating a full slate of activities for township residents, young and old.

Pete Geis, the new parks and recreation director for Cranberry Township, is ready to spring into action.

Earlier this month, Geis assumed his new position at the beginning of the township's busy recreational season. But as he tackles those new duties, he's just working at getting acclimated to his new job.

“I'm just trying to get my feet wet,” Geis said.

It is certainly not experience he lacks.

Geis comes to Cranberry after serving as director of the Ross Township Parks and Recreation Department for 11 years.

While he said his former locale was a “fantastic community,” Cranberry Township, which encompasses 22.8 square miles, is different in a way that it is still growing and has a lot of opportunities for the future, he said.

Geis replaces former Cranberry Township Parks and Recreation director Mike Diehl who had been there for a decade, township manager Jerry Andree said.

But it took some time to find the right candidate. Andree said the position was open for 11 months as they went through a “lengthy and exhausting” process to recruit new talent.

And, prior to offering Geis the position, Andree said he had to go through an extensive evaluation process, including five interviews, the standard background and reference checks, as well as undertaking an assignment that included a presentation to a group of managers, said Andree.

“Pete exhibits the level of professionalism, leadership and passion that we have been seeking to lead our community's extensive parks and recreation program,” Andree said.

Andree noted that Geis' accomplishments at his former position, included “significant enhancements and improvements” to Ross Township's recreation program, show that the new director is well qualified.

“We were committed to finding the right person and we are confident Pete is the one,” said Andree, also a resident of Cranberry.

Geis hails from Hampton Township, where he grew up and graduated high school. He received his bachelor's degree from Slippery Rock University and also has certifications in his field, Andree said.

Geis, 42, said he is currently just getting used to his new position.

But, he said, for having been without a director for almost a year, the parks and recreation staff have been doing a great job at keeping things in order.

“They have everything under control here,” Geis said.

And there's a lot to handle, as Cranberry Township, which has a population of 28,251, offers a busy year-round recreational program for seniors, adults and children.

It's also home to multiple parks, a public golf course, a municipal center, and even its own waterpark, which opens May 25.

In addition to what Geis said is a great parks and recreational program, he appreciates Cranberry's proactive vision and its strong value in government.

He added that the township also offers a vast selection of recreational programs and amenities.

These reasons are why one of his initiatives is to get Cranberry certified by the National Recreation and Parks Association, a status that confirms the township's top-notch features and lets everyone outside of the community know all that it has to offer.

Geis has even more reasons to celebrate and promote the township as he is also a new resident after moving to Cranberry in July with his son Bill, 14, who is also captain of the eighth-grade football team at Hampton Middle School.

His sister and mother also live in Cranberry so it's nice to be closer to them.

Geis said he's excited to work with the township and especially the people who live here.

“I have a very open-door policy. I'm here to serve the residents,” Geis said.

He said feel free to come in and ask any questions or present any ideas for the township.

“We'll see if we can make it happen,” Geis said.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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