Long before he made it his career, Bob Monaghan’s love of nature was cemented in the way he was raised.
“I’ve always had an interest in the outdoors. I grew up camping, fishing, biking, worked as backpacking guide during college,” Monaghan said. “Also, as a family growing up the only vacations we could afford was camping, so we did a lot of camping.”
After earning his degree in recreation management from UNT, Monaghan worked for Reagan County in West Texas operating a youth recreation center. He spent a year there until a friend from college told him about an opening in Lewisville. For Monaghan, who grew up in Richardson, the chance to be back in an area he was familiar with was too good to pass up.
He was hired by Lewisville in 1979 and was eventually promoted to parks and leisure services director in August 2006.
“When I first came here we didn’t have a recreation center, there were very few parks and one swimming pool,” Monaghan said.
There are now more than 20 parks, two water parks and two recreation centers.
“Bob’s love of parks can be seen throughout the department,” said City Manager Donna Barron. “When residents drive down the streets of Lewisville and see all the parks, just know that Bob was a driving force behind those.”
Monaghan is retiring even as Lewisville is in the midst of a $38 million project to build a multigenerational center. He said Lewisville is in a transitional period that made it the right fit for him to retire.
“We’ve got things going in the design stage for the MGC, but we haven’t started construction or putting programs together, so it’s a good transition time,” Monaghan said. “In addition, the parks manager retired last month, and this will allow a new director to be able to select their own manager. It all fit together perfectly.”
Monaghan said he is committed to helping with the transition to a new director. He said he has put in too many years with Lewisville to just walk away.
There were many challenges Monaghan faced in his 38 years with Lewisville. He went through four major floods, including the flood that surpassed the 100-year flood plan. He said it was challenging trying to get all the parks up and running after that.
“My advice after having gone through that is to look at the end result and the benefit the community gets from what we do,” Monaghan said. “You can see that by going and watching families at playgrounds and seeing families participating in activities. They wouldn’t be able to do so if it weren’t for what we do.”
Some of the projects that have stood out to Monaghan include the Lewisville 2025 plan, the building of Toyota of Lewisville Railroad Park and the city’s increased involvement with LLELA.
“There are a lot of great things going on out there. It’s been a fun, rewarding challenge taking on LLELA,” Monaghan said. “It’s an area I’m definitely interested in. I think anytime we’re able to open up a treasure such as LLELA to the public and share with them more and more is very rewarding.”
Monaghan plans to ease into retirement. He said he doesn’t want to over commit to anything, but he will remain involved in the leadership of the Southwest Park and Recreation Training Institute. He also plans to volunteer at LLELA.
“I’ll spend time camping and visiting national parks, including Glacier and Yellowstone,” Monaghan said. “I also plan to make more time for my hobbies, including competition barbecue, hunting and fishing.”
Nature has long been a large part of Monaghan’s life, but through his career, he came to love another area as well.
“Working in the parks and recreation department became a lifestyle not just for me, but for my family,” Monaghan said. “It’s been a lot of fun, but now it’s time for me to be able to enjoy a Saturday at the park.”