New IRD director finds job merely #039;kids#039; play’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

For Jimmy Mahlmeister, it's all child's play.

Mahlmeister has been officiating high school football for years along with his father, Jim, and brother, Mike, and spends his time after football season coaching youth basketball and baseball.

So when another job dealing with youth came along, he jumped at the opportunity.

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Mahlmeister will get to work with children and adults after taking over as the Ironton City recreation director for Darrell Fry who retired in April after 30 years of service as the director.

"I was taking college classes to get a teaching certificate. This job came open and either way it's all going to be working with kids," Mahlmeister said.

"I've always been involved with little league and officiating, so it seemed a natural fit. I want to be involved with kids whether it's coaching, teaching or other activities."

Despite limited financial resources, Mahlmeister has plans to initiate some new activities and possibly return some old programs.

The recreation department is offering a free basketball clinic to Ironton city youth this week and he wants to plan other activities throughout the summer for youths.

"We're getting a lot of help from Judge (Clark) Collins' community workers keeping the grass cut in the parks which allows me to turn my attention to other things like the basketball camp," Mahlmeister said.

"I've talked with some NFL officials about bringing back the Punt, Pass and Kick competition. There are a lot of people playing softball at Dow Chemical and I talked to them and they said they'd love to come back here and play."

Mahlmeister said there is not only an interest in softball in Ironton, but possibly in a winter basketball league.

"The biggest thing is finding facilities to accommodate adult leagues," Mahlmeister said. "I've talked to (Ironton athletic director) Terry Parker and he said we can use the high school softball field. So far, everyone has been very cooperative."

Some grant money is still available for repairs to city facilities such as sealing the tennis courts at Beechwood Park and the Etna Street Park.

Mahlmeister is hoping to find more money to help fund recreation projects.

"The summer is real busy, but once football season rolls around, hopefully I'll not be so busy and I can look into grants and figure out what possibilities are available. The recreation board has been very helpful in that area and with everything in general," Mahlmeister said.