Janis Burns

Janis Burns at the Jacksonville Community Center.

Janis Burns is the superintendent of Jacksonville’s Parks and Recreation department. She realized she wanted to be involved in recreation while working her first job at a concession stand in high school. Burns earned her degree in recreation and worked for the city of Anniston, as well as in the private sector, before taking a job with the city of Jacksonville. She is one of the organizers for Spirit on Mountain Street, a free community festival on Mountain Street on Aug. 22 starting at 6 p.m. The festival will be followed by a free concert with “American Idol” Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery’s at 8 p.m., sponsored by Jacksonville State University.

What programs will be offered by PARD this fall? Youth volleyball and youth soccer are about to start, as well as our after-school program. The after-school program is for any child in kindergarten-sixth grade; they ride the bus here from Kitty Stone. We also rent out the Train Depot, Community Center or any of the parks. We also offer fitness and educational classes. Different community groups meet here: Alzheimer’s support, head injuries support, garden club, exchange club and the Arts Council all meet here. 

What do you do as superintendent? I am a very hands-on type of person. So, I might be clicking a stopwatch at a track meet and recording times, or working at a swim meet. I could be riding the float in the Christmas parade or sending out flyers for our upcoming half-marathon. I could be stocking games with prizes and toys or ordering T-shirts or working on a budget or disciplinary measures. I have squeegeed out our bathrooms when we had a busted pipe. I have gone to council meetings and presented budgets. I have weeded the flower beds. It is not the same thing every day, and that is what is so neat about my job. 

What is the best part of your job? Seeing the happiness and joy and fun that comes about when people are being kids again and experiencing stuff they enjoy. 

What is the toughest part of your job? Our department handles the city cemetery, and we see people at their very lowest point.

Tell us about Spirit on Mountain Street. I am a small part of this; this is a community event. All of the proceeds go to the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center, which serves all the churches in the 36265 area code. If someone in need goes to a church for help, the church can send them there for the help they need. They have food, clothing, school supplies and help with Christmas. The City of Jacksonville, JSU and a lot of private organizations and restaurants work together to put it on. You buy coins and trade them in to get samples from the food vendors. This year, we are combining JamFest with Spirit on Mountain Street to create one big event. There will also be arts and crafts vendors, wrestling matches and a kids area. The event is from 6-8 p.m., then “American Idol” Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery’s concert starts at 8 p.m. 

What other programs should people be on the lookout for? Once we get done with fall sports, we get ready for our “No Tricks, Just Treats” week. We start with Bark in the Park on Oct. 27 at Germania Springs Dog Park. This is a free event, but some people bring pet food or treats that we donate to local animal shelters. There will be a pet costume contest. On Oct. 29, we will begin our Flashlight Candy Hunt event at 5:30 p.m. We will have 25 carnival-style games, and at 8 p.m., the lights go out on the soccer field and the kids hunt candy. It is amazing how quickly tons and tons of candy disappears. That event is $5 per child. Nov. 2. will be the annual Chief Ladiga Half Marathon. We charge just enough in order to put on the event. People can sign up to participate on runsignup.com; search for “Chief Ladiga Half Marathon” on their website.  

Do you have a suggestion for “Spotlight”? Contact Faith Dorn at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com

 

I am a small part of this; this is a community event. All of the proceeds go to the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center, which serves all the churches in the 36265 area code. If someone in need goes to a church for help, the church can send them there for the help they need. They have food, clothing, school supplies and help with Christmas. The City of Jacksonville, JSU and a lot of private organizations and restaurants work together to put it on. You buy coins and trade them in to get samples from the food vendors. This year, we are combining JamFest with Spirit on Mountain Street to create one big event. There will also be arts and crafts vendors, wrestling matches and a kids area. The event is from 6-8 p.m., then “American Idol” Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery’s concert starts at 8 p.m. 

What other programs should people be on the lookout for? Once we get done with fall sports, we get ready for our “No Tricks, Just Treats” week. We start with Bark in the Park on Oct. 27 at Germania Springs Dog Park. This is a free event, but some people bring pet food or treats that we donate to local animal shelters. There will be a pet costume contest. On Oct. 29, we will begin our Flashlight Candy Hunt event at 5:30 p.m. We will have 25 carnival-style games, and at 8 p.m., the lights go out on the soccer field and the kids hunt candy. It is amazing how quickly tons and tons of candy disappears. That event is $5 per child. Nov. 2. will be the annual Chief Ladiga Half Marathon. We charge just enough in order to put on the event. People can sign up to participate on runsignup.com; search for “Chief Ladiga Half Marathon” on their website.  

Do you have a suggestion for “Spotlight”? Contact Faith Dorn at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com

 

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