Dr. Bob AntibusTwenty years ago, then-President Dr. Elmer Neufeld announced during a faculty meeting that there was an open seat on the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District board. Dr. Bob Antibus took an interest in the position and found that it would be a perfect fit for him to make a difference.
The professor of biology continues to serve as a volunteer park district commissioner today, and is pleased with the growth he has seen in the Allen County parks' popularity. "The biggest reward I get from volunteering is seeing the park district grow and to see that interest is growing in it as well," he says. "The last park levy passed with nearly 80 percent of voters in favor, which shows that the citizens of Allen County are supporting it."
He and the other two court-appointed commissioners oversee the district's budget, including spending for employee salaries and benefits, land purchases, park upkeep and building projects. "It is important to spend the taxpayers' money wisely," Bob notes. "You want to give them the greatest long-term return on their investment, and they will reward you by using parks and passing levies."
The park district has been the recipient of several awards that recognize it as well maintained, clean and safe. District employees are very loyal, he says, and that has everything to do with the success of the parks.
The park district was established in 1972 to provide passive recreational and educational opportunities, and to conserve and protect the natural resources of the area. The 12 park areas are spread across 1,200 acres of Allen County.
Bob's passion for the outdoors is something he is happy to share with the community. "The parks provide something for everyone," he says. "I get satisfaction knowing that people of any age can experience the outdoors."