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New Pines director promises to open lines of communication

Jim Doane, the new director of the Pines Community Center, met with the Tilton Board of Selectmen last week. Meghan Siegler. (click for larger version)
June 30, 2010
TILTON — The new director of the Pines Community Center introduced himself to the Board of Selectmen last week, one of several stops he's made over the past two weeks in an effort to get to know the community.

Jim Doane started about two and a half weeks ago, taking the place of Katie Duffy, who resigned two months ago. He said he's spent much of his time meeting people and researching what the community center currently offers and what it should.

"It's been really, really fun," Doane said. "I've had a lot of warm welcomes, and the staff over there has been great."

Doane said he's been especially busy having walked in right at the start of summer camp season.

Selectman Katherine Dawson asked him where the Pines had advertised its summer camp, and Doane said he had heard it was posted in the media and other sources. Dawson said the information was never posted in Town Hall and that she had received phone calls from two families who had called and been told the programs were at capacity. She said both families had been unaware of when the sign-up was supposed to be, and one had called several times and never received a return call.

Doane said there are still slots available at the center's camps and suggested Dawson have the families contact him directly. He said he will work to make sure that people in the community are aware of the Pines' events as well. Dawson said one of the most frequent complaints she hears is that someone will go to the community center expecting it to be open, and it's not; there are no posted hours on the door either.

"It's on my to-do list," Doane said, then laughed. "You should see my to-do list."

Dawson also suggested that the community center connect with the town's welfare officer to identify children in need of financial assistance who might benefit from utilizing some of the Pines' programs.

Board Chair Pat Consentino told Doane that the board had trouble approving the Pines' budget last year. She said the selectmen were unhappy that the organization had not sought out outside funding, particularly in the form of grants.

"I look forward to seeing what you do with the financial aspect of it," Consentino said.

"I feel like I've done this for enough years that I know how the process works," Doane said. "Over the years I've raised millions of dollars for different places and charities. I'm not afraid to ask."

Consentino also said she looks forward to having "exciting new services" for children and elderly.

Dawson said she would like to see the Pines work toward better communication with the Boards of Selectmen in its communities. She said email updates would be helpful, and Doane agreed.

"Communications have really got to be there," he said. "The more I know and the more everybody's involved, the better."

Doane last worked for the Parks and Recreation Department in Amherst. He started his career as a college athletic director and has worked for several parks departments over the years.

"I've been looking for communities like this that are small," he said. "It's beautiful up here."

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