BOUNTIFUL – Bountiful’s recently-retired parks director knew everything there was to know about those green spaces.
“He was here over 40 years. Here’s a man who knows where every single water connection is, every single electrical piece is in the parks,” said Joe Johnson, who himself just stepped down as mayor.
After nearly 41 years, Jerry Wilson decided it was time to do something else. He retired in mid-January.
Wilson started as a part-time employee, at the age of 16, while still attending Viewmont High School.
He worked parks in the summer and did maintenance on the old indoor pool in the winter.
When the old Bountiful Recreation Center was built, Wilson helped install the Plexiglas connected with the ice skating rink.
After graduation, he became Bountiful Ridge Golf Course assistant superintendent, working on the irrigation system. He worked at the golf course for 19 years.
Taking over as parks superintendent in 1993, Wilson was heavily involved with construction of North Canyon Park.
“There were a lot of problems with irrigation, we had a lot of water leaks,” he recalled. It has become a showpiece park, opening in 1995.
Since then, Wilson has worked on the renovation of what was Rocket Park (now Tolman), as well as development of Foss Lewis Park. It was created from a gravel pit.
Other renovations have happened at Five Points Park and Washington Park. Wilson also helped with installation of the 4th North Park playground that is now being replaced.
But he’s also been known for his key involvement in everything from making sure the city has plenty of flowers planted throughout, to smooth running of the giant Handcart Days and Summerfest, as well as the Bountiful Rotary Car Show.
“There have been so many highlights,” Wilson said looking back. He named the new stage at 4th North Park as a plus for Summerfest, and other programs, such as the summer Concert in the Park series.
“The car show has been a lot of work, but it’s been a joy,” he said.
Wilson praised the city employees and mayors/councils for their support, but said he’s looking forward to doing other things
He and his wife Peggy are the parents of three children, all of whom live nearby. Wilson wants to spend more time with his five grandchildren, and many get involving in tutoring in an elementary school.
“He has had his touch on so many areas of the city,” Johnson said of Wilson. “We were lucky to have him. He was very accommodating even when he was under a lot of pressure. He was really, really good.”