Aberdeen Park Board Commissioner Fred Scott retires

A lifetime Aberdonian has said goodbye to a civic position he held for 26 years, but in that time he did his best to add to the place he calls home.

Fred Scott, former park board commissioner since January 1998 and owner of Aberdeen Office Equipment, “undertook many” projects through the decades he served. A few of those projects took more effort to make them happen.

“I think the Bishop Athletic Complex was a pretty major feat,” Scott said. “The water park was in its own a nice addition to the park system. Just always looking to try to maximize what we could do with the budget that we had and maintain the facilities and the other things. Between the Bishop Athletic Complex and the renovation to Pioneer (Park) and the water park, those were three of the big ones that we started with nothing and were able to put together.”

Scott made a positive impression on the people he worked with, including Stacie Barnum, director for Aberdeen Parks and Recreation. The two worked together for all but three of her 29 years with the city. One attribute for Scott that Barnum listed is how active he was.

“When Fred was involved with Babe Ruth, he spent a considerable amount of time volunteering at the field, helping with improvements like painting, hanging sponsorship signs, helping to raise money to make improvements,” Barnum said.

Barnum said Scott not only donated money and items, such as bikes so the department could raffle off bikes for children, but he spent a lot of his own time helping out.

Scott served under Wes Peterson and Karl Harris before Barnum took over, according to the city department’s news release about Scott’s retirement.

“During his term on the park board, he was a part of many important improvements in the park system and recreation programs,” the release states. “These include: the construction of the Bishop Athletic Complex, improvements to the Pioneer Park sports fields, construction of a spray park, Aberdeen’s first dog park, new playgrounds in our parks, the city’s flower program, the addition of a disc golf course at Sam Benn Park, youth and adult sports programs, youth summer recreation programs, the SPLASH Festival and summer community events.”

Scott talked about his retirement.

“Well, I served on the board for 25-plus years,” Scott said. “I appreciate the time I spent. I learned a lot, had a great time, (worked with) a lot of good people and a lot of good things (are) happening. But I felt it was time for someone younger, all the other things, new ideas and other things. I decided with a new administration coming in and some other things happening that I would offer my resignation.”

Scott will be missed on the board

“As a long-term park board member, Fred had been involved in a lot of the changes that have happened in our parks and our recreation programs over the years,” Barnum said. “He provided some good, historical information about how we got where we are today. He had an understanding maybe why certain grants were written for certain projects, because he was involved with those projects in the ‘90s and early 2000s.”

Barnum concisely described Scott and what she’ll miss about working with him.

“He’s humble, community driven, a family guy — very supportive of his family, he’s got grandkids and kids who have participated in our programs through the years,” Barnum said. “He has good vision and he likes to provide the devil’s advocate perspective. He likes to be the person at the table who provides the other perspective. He doesn’t just rubber stamp things. He wants to really look at all different angles. That’s important.”

Scott will miss working with Barnum as well.

“Stacie, I’ve known since she was in high school,” Scott said. “I’ve enjoyed working with her. She has had a lot of responsibilities put upon her and she works hard for the city.”

Scott described one difficulty he faced during his time on the board.

“It’s always a balancing act to find funding,” Scott said.

Scott said with the large number of projects to work on, the board had to “prioritize the budget toward maintenance and always looking to expand the facilities.”

But that said, Scott added how he “had no real problems,” how he “worked with a lot of great people and just enjoyed doing (the work).”

Michael Stoddard, park board president, had a few nice words to say about Scott.

“Fred cares for our community and is always willing to volunteer or even donate to the youth activities in the area,” Stoddard said. “Fred is a hell of a good friend.”

Stoddard, who has served with Scott on the board for the past 25 years, had a little more to say about his friend’s career.

“He has served with pride and joy to accomplish a better park system for the city,” Stoddard said.

In addition to Scott’s time on the park board, Scott served as the president of Aberdeen Babe Ruth and coached Little League baseball, according to the news release.

“Over the years he and his business donated items for kids’ events, sponsored local youth teams and sponsored local events,” the release states. “Fred is an example of someone who cares about giving the youth of the Harbor recreational opportunities. He cares about the community through service that has improved the Aberdeen Parks and Recreation Department and has put the park board in a better place for success in the future. It was an honor to serve as the parks director while Fred served on the park board.”

Scott, who’s part of several generations of the Scott family to have lived in Aberdeen, cares a great deal about his town. With that in mind, he had some advice for his replacement.

“Listen, learn, remember that it’s a group project and this is home. It’s what we make of it, so make it a success,” Scott said.

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.