New parks commissioner recruited by Councilman Miranda

FILE PHOTO: A tree at the top of the hill at Todd Longshore Park in Canyon Country sways with the wind on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Santa Clarita’s newest Parks, Recreation and Community Services commissioner is Victor Lindenheim, executive director of the Golden State Gateway Coalition and Santa Clarita resident of 13 years.

Lindenheim was one of ten applicants who applied for the job, but was hand-picked by Councilman Bill Miranda, who asked him to apply.

Miranda said he was not necessarily looking for a “parks person,” but someone who could build consensus and reach out to community members. Particularly, Miranda noted Lindenheim’s involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, Valley Industry Association and multiple nonprofits.

“He’s a great community leader and he has access to large segments in the community that he’s dealt with before,” Miranda said. “I wanted someone who could reach out to the community, listen to their wants and concerns and then convey that to the council. Victor has that great skill, that wonderful ability.”

When Miranda called Lindenheim to suggest he apply, Lindenheim said he thought it over for a day and concluded he would be a good fit, though the position was not something he had “aggressively gone after” before this.

The commissioners’ duties include advising the city council on parks and recreation facilities, recreational offerings, programs and classes, as well as cooperating with other government agencies and civic groups.

Lindenheim has experience in transportation, environment, health and economic sectors and has interacted with local governments in those roles.

“What I’ve done with my life, I’ve dealt with quality of life issues,” Lindenheim said. “There are skills that I might bring that seem to be helpful. I thought I could do some good and learn some new things.”

Both Assemblyman Dante Acosta and Senator Scott Wilk wrote Lindenheim letters of recommendation for his application, and he said he has an excellent relationship with both.

As far as his parks experience, Lindenheim said he and his wife walk, run and bike on the San Francisquito trail at least three times a week and have hiked and played Frisbee golf at Central Park. Lindenheim said coming from the East Coast he did not have such amenities, so he values these in the valley.

“The mission is as I see it is to maintain what we’ve got, expand it as the community grows and make sure all demographics of the population, young, old and handicapped, have access to these amenities,” he said.

Lindenheim plans to look at the city’s inventory and establish strengths and weaknesses to better familiarize himself with the parks. He said he wants to listen to community members’ interests and learn from the other commissioners.

“You’ve got a broad constituency,” he said. “You have a lot of people with a lot of wants and needs, and part of my charge is to find out what those wants and needs are.”

Lindenheim will serve in his role until the end of 2018.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services commissioners are paid $147.16 per meeting they attend.


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