Manatee County merges natural resources, parks departments

skennedy@bradenton.comOctober 8, 2013 

A kayaker paddles the waters of Robinson Preserve, one of the most popular parks in Manatee County parks system. FILE PHOTO/TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald

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MANATEE — About five employees were told Tuesday they would be laid off as a result of a merger of two Manatee County departments, a county official said.

The merger of the Parks and Recreation department and the Natural Resources department will save about $250,000 a year, said Ed Hunzeker, Manatee County administrator.

The new department will be called the Parks and Natural Resources Department, and will be headed by current natural resources chief Charlie Hunsicker.

It was unclear where Cindy Turner, the parks and recreation director, would fit into the new picture, Hunzeker said after a county commission meeting at which he announced the changes.

“It’s under discussion,” Hunzeker said.

The new department is geared at cross-promoting some of the county’s most popular public amenities: a Parks and Recreation Department that offers green space and athletic opportunities to hundreds of local families and a Natural Resources Department which maintains nearly 30,000 acres of the region’s most popular conservation lands, according to Nick Azzara, county information outreach coordinator.

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