Elizabeth Varner, Director of Parks & Recreation, Retiring from the City of Galesburg


The Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Galesburg, Elizabeth Varner, is set to retire from the city for the second time on Friday, February 2, 2024. Varner has devoted over 33 years of service to the City of Galesburg, serving as a Recreation Supervisor for over 30 years before her retirement in 2018. In 2022, Varner returned from retirement to lead the department as the Director of Parks and Recreation.

Varner holds a bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Administration from Indiana University and is a member of the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association, as well as the National Parks and Recreation Association. She is very passionate about recreation, and has spent her career creating, planning, and leading recreational programming and events for the City of Galesburg, as well as developing connections with program participants and community partners.

“Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for parks and recreation is unmatched,” said City Manager Eric Hanson. “We are grateful for her service to the community, and know many of the programs, parks, and facilities she has had a hand in fostering will have a lasting impact on the quality of life for our citizens.”

The City of Galesburg Parks and Recreation Department includes a wide range of parks and recreational facilities and programs, including Lake Storey Park and Beach, Lake Storey Pavilion, Lakeside Water Park, Lakeside Recreational Facility, Lakeside Nature Center, Hawthorne Gym and Pool, Allison Campground, Bunker Links Golf Course, Linwood and E. Linwood Cemetery, and 23 neighborhood parks. Notable achievements during Varner’s leadership include the award of OSLAD Grants for park improvements at Lancaster Park, and a park development on the southwest side of Galesburg. She also coordinated implementation of improvements to H.T. Custer Park, also funded by an OSLAD Grant. Extensive exterior and structural repairs to Hawthorne Municipal Pool have also been achieved during Varner’s term as director, allowing continuation of aquatic programming at the facility.

“It has been a privilege to be able to come back and work for the City of Galesburg in an area I am extremely passionate about,” said Varner. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Director of Parks and Recreation with a terrific team. There have been many wonderful accomplishments during this time, which would not have happened without the Parks and Recreation staff and collaboration of many city departments.”

The City of Galesburg is currently recruiting to fill the position of Director of Parks and Recreation, and more information can be found on the city’s website.

***Courtesy of the City of Galesburg***

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