The city of Granite Shoals has a new recreation coordinator, Angela Jackson-Gallardo, who started May 3.
Jackson-Gallardo comes to Granite Shoals after stints with Inks Lake State Park and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She has a background in photography, graphic design, organizing volunteers, and other park-related duties.
“(The job is) all encompassing. I really like that kind of work,” she said.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Tarleton State University. At the time, she was a nursing major, but her career compass changed after a vacation at Big Bend National Park. Growing up, her family’s vacations were often at parks, where they camped and enjoyed the natural offerings. She also found that she loved learning about the history of the parks.
She was attracted to the job in part because of the city’s 19 parks, which give Granite Shoals its nickname “City of Parks,” and knowing council members want to see more activities in them.
“I’m excited about being creative and bouncing ideas off people,” Jackson-Gallardo said.
Assistant City Manager Peggy Smith, who serves as the Parks and Recreation director, noted the time had come to hire a recreation coordinator because residents and visitors to Granite Shoals often go to other cities for events such as concerts, sports, and festivals.
“We are to the point in the life of this city that I need some help because I can’t focus totally on the recreation activities and we’ve reached the city’s lifetime where we we need to start adding these types of activities,” Smith said. “In the last two or three years, we’ve had so many people move into the city of Granite Shoals, and they keep looking for things for their kids to do.”
The new recreation coordinator also will serve as the liaison between City Hall and organizations interested in holding events and activities in Granite Shoals.
Jackson-Gallardo will also help with GraniteFest, the city’s largest festival that features barbecue and chili cook-offs, an arts-and-crafts show, live entertainment, and activities for all ages.
While Smith and City Manager Jeff Looney will be involved in the planning of GraniteFest, Smith said Jackson-Gallardo will serve as the point of contact for vendors, artists, and volunteers leading up to and on the day of the event.
Smith said city staff “have lots of plans” and a vision for the parks system, and hiring a recreation coordinator checks one of the items off the list.
“We have big dreams,” she said.