As of September 13, the City of Hamilton has a new Parks and Urban Forestry Director. Amy Fox has joined the city after an extensive career with the Forest Service.
Fox has lived in the Bitterroot Valley since 2008 and Hamilton since 2010. She holds a degree in Forestry and worked for the Forest Service for 20 years.
“I began my career as a forester in northern New Mexico and spent the last 13 years on the Bitterroot National Forest as the Environmental Coordinator, a sort of natural resource planner,” said Fox.
Dominic Farrenkopf, Mayor of Hamilton, explained that with the increase in demand for City services in the Public Works Department made designating a Parks and Urban Forestry Director imperative.
“The City has experienced steady and rapid growth in the past few years. Donny Ramer, Public Works Director, oversees six departments (Water, Wastewater, Streets, Parks, Cemetery and Building Inspection). We have reached a point where we are experiencing a great challenge keeping up with the growing needs of all of our departments. With the addition of Skalkaho Bend our parks inventory has grown to over 240-acres of parkland and with the recent growth the level of service requested by our citizens has also increased. In the past the City Parks/Cemetery had their own director, and we felt that it was time for this position to come back. Adding this position will give the Parks and Cemetery the attention they deserve,” said Farrenkopf
The Parks and Urban Forestry Director position was advertised this summer and Fox was compelled to apply.
“While I enjoyed my time spent working with the Forest Service, I was interested in working for the public in a different capacity,” said Fox. “Having lived in the city for over a decade now, I have a deep appreciation for our parks and this job seemed like to perfect opportunity to continue to work with the public in managing lands and resources that are loved by the community.”
Donny Ramer, Public Works Director, is looking forward to working with Fox.
“We are really excited to have Ms. Fox onboard. Public Works and Parks will continue to work together to provide a smooth transition. We have been working together to hand off information and projects. The City is a small organization and all of the departments help each other out on a regular basis,” said Ramer.
Maintaining and improving the City’s parks, trees and cemetery is a prominent goal of Fox. Though she doesn’t have any specific projects in mind, she is working towards addressing the needs and wants of her department.
“When I visit our parks, I see how much they are valued by the community – in the way they are currently maintained and by the number of people out and about using them. After I have time to orient myself to the immediate needs, I am very interested in working with the community to get their ideas on what they would like to see happening (or not) in our parks and ways to partner with local groups and businesses to make those things happen,” said Fox.
The City’s trees and cemetery are also a priority to Fox.
“I got a Forestry degree because of my love of trees,” said Fox. “Our town is blessed with lots of great trees and I’m excited to expand my knowledge of how to maintain the ones we have and plan for what we need in the future.”
“The cemetery is obviously a very important piece of our city and I am hoping to explore solutions to the current water (or lack thereof) situation. I have met the park and cemetery employees and they work hard to keep them maintained. I’m excited to be working with them,” said Fox.
Farrenkopf mentioned the City’s desire to provide the best services and amenities possible to both residents and visitors of Hamilton.
“Our City Parks are certainly gems in our community, all with a unique personality and purpose. We also take great pride in our cemetery and the trees that flourish in the City. Ms. Fox is going to be a great addition to the City staff and will provide a level of service that will enhance the Public’s experience with her department,” said Farrenkopf.
Fox’s office is located at the Public Works building at 920 New York Avenue and she can be reached by calling 406-363-6717.