Sat March 13, 2021
Batavia Park District Honors Director of Parks and Properties
This month, the Batavia Park District thanks and honors Eric Lacher, Director of Parks and Properties, for his dedication and leadership throughout his 35-year career as he embarks on retirement.
Eric began his career at the Batavia Park District in February 1986 as a full-time Parks Technician II and stayed in the Parks Department ever since, with various roles. After two years, Eric was named a Parks Forman. Four years later, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Parks followed by Superintendent of Parks. Fast forward to 2001 and Eric landed with his final title of Director of Parks and Properties where he oversaw the maintenance, renovation, and construction of District facilities and parks.
Besides being an integral leader at the Batavia Park District, Eric has been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally for his service. Early in his career, he was named the Midwest Institute of Park Executives (MIPE) Outstanding Park Employee of the Year in 1989 and 1997. Eric is a Certified Pool Operator (CPO), Certified Playground Safety Instructor (CPSI), Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), and served as the MIPE president two times, among other awards.
Most recently, Eric was awarded the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) Community Impact Award in 2018 for his work on the Bulldogs Unleashed campaign, raising over $75,000 to support Batavia parks, schools, and library. To honor Eric’s accomplishments over his career, the maintenance facility located at 700 S. River Street is officially named ‘The Lacher Maintenance Facility.’
“It has been an honor to work with Eric over the past 21 years. Eric has left behind a legacy with the implementation of the Park Watch Program, a comprehensive repair and replacement schedule, and countless facility upgrades,” says Executive Director Allison Niemela. “He set the stage for long term success at the Park District by creating a more structured and efficient Parks Department. I speak on behalf of the Park Board and Staff when I say we will miss his talents, personal attributes, and institutional knowledge tremendously.”
When asked about a favorite memory or two, Eric admitted that there are too many great memories to mention! He reminisced about the growth of Windmill City Festival over the years, the ‘good ole days’ of Park District potlucks at retired Carla Hill’s house, and the Depot Pond dredge project. Overall, Eric’s favorite part was that “I was able to fulfill my career goals to provide safe, clean, and well-maintained parks for kids of all ages to enjoy here in Batavia.”
Eric is looking forward to helping his kids with anything they want him to fix, build, or create, along with being more present for his wife, family, and friends. He is also excited to work on his old tractors and Jeep. The Park District is truly a work family that Eric will miss. He says, “I have been blessed to work with so many people who honestly give so much of themselves for the good of others. That is what makes this profession so great, especially in Batavia!”
The Batavia Park District is extremely thankful for the lasting impact Eric has created. Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement!