GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County has hired a new parks and recreation director.

On Thursday, the county announced Ben Swayze will start as parks and recreation director on May 22.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to join a team of individuals who work so hard to serve the community,” Swayze said in the news release. “Parks and recreation are integral parts of the vitality of the county, and I’m excited to be a part of the continued success of this department.”

Swayze is currently the township manager of Cascade Charter Township and previously was the parks and recreation director and city manager in Milan, Michigan.

The director position was brought back to help lead the department with projects, including expanding the Grand River Greenway, updating the park’s master plan and property acquisitions, according to the county.

The director has been empty since the previous director retired in 2018. Instead of filling the position, the previous county administrator decided to spread the duties among a newly created parks superintendent position, the facilities director, a deputy county administrator and the county administrator, according to the county.