Cosmiano takes on new role

New park director spent last 12 years at Mississippi College

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 7/8/16

New City of Jasper Park and Recreation Director Peter Cosmiano has a plan.

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Cosmiano takes on new role

New park director spent last 12 years at Mississippi College

Posted

New City of Jasper Park and Recreation Director Peter Cosmiano has a plan.

He’s working on three-year and five-year plans for the future. Currently, he’s just thinking about the short term.

“Right now, it’s a ‘what can we get done this week’ plan,” said Cosmiano, who took over his post in May.

Cosmiano comes to Jasper after a lengthy career coaching volleyball at the collegiate level. He spent the last 12 years as the head volleyball coach at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss., and he was the head coach at Millsaps College in Tennessee the previous seven years.

The Tennessee native graduated from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Marketing. He completed Masters of Business Adminstration degree in 1997 from New Mexico Highlands University, where he also served as interim head volleyball coach in 1996.

Cosmiano is no stranger to the area. His wife Rebecca (Nelson) is from Jasper. They have three young girls.

“My wife grew up here. My in-laws are here. I’ve been coming to Jasper forever. Being able to come back home so the grand kids can be closer to her parents, it was a good move. We’re excited about it,” Cosmiano said. “When this position came open, I thought it would be a good fit as far as (my) skills.”

Cosmiano, who has moved his office to the natatorium, has been on his feet since taking the job.

His initial order of business is an assessment of the department.

“First and foremost it’s evaluating the programs to make sure we are serving our population. Evaluation of the facilties, all of the parks, evaluation of all the different gyms, baseball fields — all those things,” he said.

“From my experience and my research, we are ahead in some areas and behind in some areas,” Cosmiano said. “Not many towns this size have a natatorium like we do. We have a lot of people that swim in Jasper — not just the swim team, but adults, too. There is a lot of pool use. In a lot of other communities, it’s not like that. I think we’re ahead with that.

“Swimming goes back a long, long way in Jasper.”

On the other side, there are some cosmetic issues. Cosmiano noticed some needed changes just by visiting some of the Jasper Park and Recreation facilities.

“Some of our fields have a lot of fencing issues. A lot of those are the original fences,” said Cosmiano, adding that years of batting practices have taken their toll.

“We want to look at creating places where (teams) can hit soft toss and have more places where they can practice hitting other than hitting against our fences. Also, some of the baseball fields need to be smoothed out between the infield and outfield. Through the years, dirt gets displaced. We need to level the fields again. We are playing on them, and the community appreciates them, we just want to make things better for them and their experience.”

There is plenty going on this summer between swim meets, classes at the natatorium and a host of baseball tournaments at the various fields.

The 11-year-old Dizzy Dean State Tournament wrapped up on Tuesday and the city hosts the 17-team 12-year-old Dizzy Dean State Tournament starting Friday. The area will be well represented with a Jasper team and two Walker County teams taking part.

“I don’t get to spend much time in the office. I’ve just been running around. I would kind of like to be able to sit down and do some work,” Cosmiano joked.