AVON — The city has hired Bay Village Assistant Recreation Director Clare Harasimchuk to fill its newly created recreation coordinator position. Harasimchuk starts Monday.
Harasimchuk, who has worked for Bay Village Recreation for nearly 20 years, started with the department when she was 16, working as a seasonal employee while enrolled at Magnificat High School in Rocky River, and then during breaks while a student at Ohio University, where she graduated with a communications degree. Since 2002 she has served as assistant director.
The Avon resident said it will be tough to leave her longtime Bay post, as she’s “made wonderful friendships over the years,” but she’s excited about contributing to the city where she lives.
“I'm looking forward to serving the members of our community, and working with Mayor Jensen and administration,” Harasimchuk said. “Parks and recreation is so important; it builds community and lasting memories.”
She and her husband have two young children, and recently added a bull mastiff puppy to the family.
Harasimchuk was interviewed by a committee that included Jensen. The mayor said that council created and passed a job description for the recreation coordinator role, and ultimately, it was his job to fill it.
Jensen said Harasimchuk’s years of service and vast array of recreation knowledge made her stand out from the other candidates.
“She has done it all, including running a city pool,” said Jensen. “Often, people compare us to other suburbs and say, ‘Why can't we have what they have?’ Clare comes from one of those suburbs that offer their residents a lot. Since her focus will be on recreation, we hope she can bring those things to Avon, too. And of course, the fact she is an Avon resident was a major plus.”
Jensen said Harasimchuk will first focus on a smooth transition over the next several months, and then once she is settled in, “her main focus will be activities and programs that center around not just our youth, but family and our senior population.”
The mayor said his new recreation coordinator will work with the city’s senior center to make sure that demographic is included.
Harasimchuk will be paid $65,000 per year and report directly to Jensen. The mayor recently appointed Director of Service Mike Farmer also to director of parks, as the city continues to separate the parks and recreation roles to focus on residents’ requests for more recreational activities. These changes are a precursor to a charter amendment that will be on the November ballot, which will ask residents to eliminate the Director of Parks position, the mayor said.