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Nathan Powell resigns from role as Mitchell's Parks and Recreation director

Powell served as the Parks and Recreation director for the past five years and facilitated a handful of recreation projects in the Mitchell community.

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Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell shows a rendering of the marina design that was a result of the Lake Mitchell Community Use Plan on Monday in his office. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

Nathan Powell is resigning from his role as Mitchell’s Parks and Recreation director.

Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson confirmed on Monday that Powell has submitted his resignation.

Everson said Powell will continue to serve in his role with Mitchell’s Parks and Recreation Department until Dec. 1 to make for a “smooth transition.”

“He’s going to help get everything under control and get everything set up to make for a smoother transition for the next individual who comes into the role,” Everson said of Powell. “It’s nice to have a lengthy changeover, and we’re thankful for his decision to do that.”

Powell has not responded to a Mitchell Republic request for comment. According to Everson, Powell will be taking a similar role with the city of Norfolk, Nebraska, where Powell has family ties.

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“He has spent a lot of time in Norfolk, and he has a family farm there,” Everson said. “He got offered a parks and recreation director position down there, and he decided to take it. I totally understand the family aspect of it as well, and we wish him the best.”

Powell served as the Parks and Recreation Director for the past five years and facilitated a handful of recreation projects. He was hired in 2016 under former Mayor Jerry Toomey’s leadership.

Among some notable projects that Powell led included the effort to add artificial turf to the Drake Field baseball diamond, working with North Dakota State University to develop a Lake Mitchell master plan and the $120,000 expansion to the Dry Run Creek Skate Park. In the city's parks, Powell focused on bringing more accessible, inclusive playgrounds to the community.

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Mitchell City Council Member Kevin McCardle holds the scissors for the ribbon cutting of the new expansion to the skate park alongside the City of Mitchell Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell on Friday morning in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

“I want to provide opportunities for everybody, and it doesn’t matter what your physical abilities are, we should all be able to use our city’s facilities, parks and playgrounds,” Powell said in a 2019 interview regarding installing an accessible playground at Patton Young Park . “We embrace our population of people who have different disabilities.”

Prior to becoming Mitchell’s Parks and Recreation Director, Powell managed four parks in Montana, including a state park. He also brought experience in dealing with lakes.

During the development of the Lake Mitchell master plan, Powell pointed to the city-owned body of water as one of the community’s “biggest assets.” He previously said the wetland project that’s slated to be built along Firesteel Creek to help reduce the phosphorus and sediment flowing into Lake Mitchell was an “important” project toward addressing the ongoing algae woes.

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Powell was also a big proponent of dredging the lake, which city leaders have been focused on advancing. He was among the city officials who helped select Minnesota-based Barr Engineering to develop a preliminary dredging design.

“He had a lot of knowledge of lake issues, so we’re going to miss that as we move ahead in the wetland project to improve the lake’s algal problems,” Everson said.

His resignation comes about a month after the Mitchell City Council approved Powell to take on a dual role as the head of the Golf and Cemetery Department, which Everson said is a structure that will stay in place.

Everson said the city will begin searching for Powell's replacement to lead the Parks and Recreation Department in the near future.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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