If you’ve walked a trail or enjoyed the trees in Lewisville, you’ve seen some of Bob Monaghan’s work.
After serving Lewisville in the Parks and Leisure Services department for nearly four decades, Monaghan retired April 27, leaving behind a legacy to build on, Assistant City Manager Eric Ferris said.
“When somebody spends over 38 years of their life with an organization, they have an impact. Bob left an impact,” Ferris said. “He’s been very instrumental in development of trails and looking out to the future in trail planning and the park masterplan for the city.”
Monaghan, 63, said being able to see the impact the work of the department had on the community and families was the most rewarding part of his job.
“You can go out to a playground and watch families on a playground at a park, you go out to the soccer fields on a Saturday and see everyone that’s playing soccer or baseball — you wouldn’t be able to do so if we weren’t doing what we do,” he said.
The City of Lewisville did not have trail systems nor a tree planting program when Monaghan started working for it in 1979.
“If a tree died, we’d take it out,” Monaghan said. “So we started planting trees, taking care of trees. We’ve been recognized as a Tree City USA for the past 23 years.”
When asked about his achievements in the position, Monaghan said the tree planting projects are going to have a lasting impact on the community. Monaghan had a hand in creating the parks masterplan, the trails masterplan and the Lewisville 2025 plan.
Parks foreman Mike Farr has worked with Monaghan since Farr started 32 years ago.
“If anything, he works too much. He’s always here,” Farr said. “He’s always been hard working towards city goals. That’s just him.”
Farr said Monaghan was a hands-on sort of leader.
“There’s a lot of budget concerns and all that, but he’s always worked hard to get us what we needed, the people we needed,” Farr said.
Noting there are a lot of challenges, Monaghan said the biggest he’s faced was just trying to provide the level of service that the department wants to be able to provide to the community with limited resources. But in those instances he found ways to be creative and to prioritize with what was available.
Parks and Leisure Services had less than a dozen people in the department when Monaghan started in 1979, and the population of Lewisville was about 23,000. At the time there were five parks.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of growth. Now we have over 3,000 acres in park land,” Monaghan said. “We now have 33 miles in trails.”
The department now employs 70 full-time employees and up to an additional 70 seasonal workers in the summer.
Monaghan’s Lewisville career started with a position as recreation specialist. Continuously looking for new challenges, he worked his way from recreation superintendent to park manager to assistant director. In 2006 Monaghan became the director of the department and served in that position until Thursday.
He was very involved in Boy Scouts when his son was in it and found a way to help the scouts while also helping the community.
“I had the opportunity to work with over 150 Boy Scouts on their Eagle Scout projects for various projects on the parks here,” Monaghan said. “It was very rewarding.”
Projects included tree planting, birdhouse building, landscaping and irrigation efforts. “We did a lot of tree planting.”
Monaghan decided in the summer of 2016 it was time to retire when he couldn’t make plans with his wife, Cheryl, who teaches at Lewisville High School.
“With her being a teacher all these years, our vacation time hasn’t matched up very well and we’ve always struggled to do much during the summer,” he said. “I realized it was time for us to spend time together doing the things we wanted to do.”
The former parks director said he has an exciting summer ahead of him. He and Cheryl Monaghan will spend time camping, and their son, Rob, is getting married. Part of Butt First BBQ, a competitive barbecue team, Monaghan has a couple of cook-offs planned.
The BBQ team once consisted of various park employees from surrounding states, but, due to difficulty in scheduling, it’s mostly Monaghan and his son competing.
His work with parks and recreation is also not over, as he will be helping the Southwest Parks and Recreation Training Institute start a new park maintenance training school in Denver, Colorado this summer. He has served SWPRTI previously in many positions, including as president, and is currently the chair of the education board of regents.
Other plans he has for retirement include more hunting, more fishing, volunteering with Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area and visiting national parks, specifically Yellowstone and Glacier.
How does Bob Monaghan want former city coworkers to remember him?
“As someone that cared.”