CORNELIUS – Paul Herbert, director of the Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Department for the past decade, has quietly stepped down, and town commissioners recently appointed Troy Fitzsimmons as the department’s new director.

Fitzsimmons was serving as the town’s parks superintendent.

“When I came to Cornelius in 2000, I had a five-year plan to carry forward the vision to build a great department and the services that went with it, like indoor recreation centers (Bailey Road, J.V. Washam), plentiful community special events (Symphony in the Park and many others) and lasting partnerships,” Herbert said. “…That plan stretched to almost 11 years. “With my graduate work at N.C. State in parks, recreation and tourism management and my years of experience in building people and communities through recreation, I saw the benefit of combining my vision and skills within other communities looking at building stronger parks, recreation and tourism services. I like the diversity of the experience and the challenge.”

Herbert said he is “thrilled” to see Fitzsimmons take his place, adding Fitzsimmons “will do a great job.”

Before becoming Cornelius’ parks and recreation director, Herbert served as parks district supervisor for the Mecklenburg county department and cultural arts supervisor at the Charlotte Parks and Recreation Department.

Herbert and Fitzsimmons worked together in the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, and Fitzsimmons became the town’s first parks superintendent in 2008.

Fitzsimmons has degrees from the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford and worked as a park ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before joining the Mecklenburg County park department in 1995. While with the county, he served as park planner, planning team project manager and acting assistant director. He worked as a parks development manager and programs coordinator for the Washington State Parks Service before coming to Cornelius.