The long-time leader of the Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority will retire at the end of this year, the organization announced Tuesday.

PARA, a private organization funded by local governments and membership revenue, oversees the construction, management and operation of dozens of parks, playgrounds, activity centers, green spaces and more in and around Tuscaloosa.

Gary Minor has been with PARA for nearly 20 years including 11 as its executive director. He announced his retirement during a meeting of their board of directors Tuesday.

Minor will leave the post on December 31st, PARA said.

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“We wish to thank Gary Minor for his outstanding service to the PARA organization for the past 18 years. He came to PARA in 2004 and has served as Executive Director for the past 11 years," said Peggy Hogue, chairperson of the PARA board. "We are grateful that he will remain in this position until December 31, 2022, where he will be instrumental in helping with the transition of leadership. I can’t think of anyone who deserves to be able to do a little more hiking, canoeing, camping and fishing than Gary! He leaves a tremendous legacy and will be greatly missed. We wish him and his family the very best!” said Peggy Hogue, Chairperson of the Board.

Minor, only the third executive director since PARA was founded in 1969, said leading the organization has been an honor.

“Working as Executive Director for PARA has been the highlight of my life and my career," Minor said. "I love this organization and our community immensely. I am proud of our service and accomplishments during my tenure in this leadership role with PARA."

Minor is credited with growing the organization, adding and upgrading many of its best-loved parks, playgrounds and facilities and helping organize some of the community's most treasured recurring events.

Early in his tenure as executive director, he also shaped PARA's role in providing shelter, volunteer labor, equipment and much more in the wake of the devastating April 2011 tornadoes that damaged or destroyed so much in the area.

A PARA spokesperson said no interim director has yet been named, but those details and more on the search to replace Minor will be coming soon.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more as it becomes available.

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