They say variety is the spice of life, and for Danville Parks Director Will Lacey, that’s a very good thing! Will has been involved with parks and recreation since 2005, where he started out as an intern with Danville Parks and Recreation, then became the recreation coordinator and soon was promoted to assistant superintendent.
Will didn’t waste any time getting his feet wet and instead took more of a dive in head-first approach—something that has served him well throughout his 17-year career in parks and rec. But the thing that has kept him in the same industry all these years is the wide range of job functions in every role he has held.
“I said yes to Parks and Recreation because of the diversity in what it includes,” explained Will. “There are not many other jobs where you are in website building, sales, wedding, aquatics, maintenance, rental facilities, fitness, politics, planning and nonprofit management. Every day is something different.”
Today, Will continues his parks legacy with plenty of enthusiasm in his roles as Director and Assistant Town Manager, making an impact at the local and state level through his involvement in various committees and initiatives. He helped organize the first Trails and Parks of Hendricks County meeting, where all park directors and trail association convene and collaborate and has also been highly involved with the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association, where he held the title of president in 2017.
“I am a big believer in education and being an advocate for my field,” he added. “My time as director has been the most fun I have had in my career. I love planning, modernizing, organizing and building new things for the Danville Community. I believe my job is to analyze what the community wants and try to make it happen within our financial means. It takes a lot of creativity to make that happen but with our awesome park staff, we can do almost anything.”
His passion for the industry and the community is also why Will is committed to supporting the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County. The way he sees it, supporting PFOHC means supporting all the amenities the community loves.
“Supporting PFOHC is important because it affects all parks,” said Will. “Most of us do not realize that the little league field we learned to play baseball, football or soccer on is operated and maintained by the parks. The pool that teaches hundreds of kids each year how to swim is operated by the parks. The trails that you run on every day are all maintained and operated by the parks. When you give to parks it goes back to the wellness and sense of place for your community.”
And Will knows a thing or two about all of the parks since he and his family have visited every park in the county! While they are all special, Will particularly enjoys Blanton Woods.
“Blanton Woods is in town, but you feel like you are in a state forest when you are running through the woods. Whether it’s creek views, hills, forests, or fields you will get it all running through Blanton Woods,” he shared.
While Will has a strong passion for parks and his sights set on big projects including a five-year Master Plan, upgrades to the Gill Family Aquatic Center, and new football fields for the Danville Junior Football league, his number one priority is family! When he’s off the clock, Will loves being with his wife, Kelly, and their three daughters, Ellie, Hallie and Mollie. And if you can’t find him in Hendricks County, you will most likely find him doing some extreme winter activities like snowmobiling in Wisconsin or skiing in Utah. Oh, and he even tells a tale about an Alaskan adventure.
“On one of my craziest trips, my friends and I traveled to Alaska and hiked out to the bus from the book/movie Into the Wild. If you haven’t watched the movie or read the book you should,” he said.
His ultimate piece of advice is this: “Always remember that happiness is best shared.”
Will, we thank you for sharing your gifts, expertise and a glimpse into your life with us!